As a business owner, you spend a lot of time and money on office and meeting environments. A lot of thought goes into creating the optimal office design for productivity and a lot of time is spent sitting in meetings. However, did you know that two basic environmental factors can have the biggest impact on productivity?
Looking beyond fancy technology and comfortable chairs, temperature and air quality are the foundations of a good office environment.
Worker performance could be increased by 20% if the fresh air supply in offices and meeting rooms was improved, finds a report developed by Sharp and workplace psychologist Dr. Nigel Oseland. The report identifies temperature as a key environmental factor that has an impact on memory recall, attention span, and creativity, which all affect performance.
The Perfect Temperature for Productivity
It’s a tale as old as time, half the office is freezing while the other half is too hot. There is a constant battle over the thermostat and no one can ever win. According to Dr. Oseland, however, there is an ideal temperature.
Temperature, and other related environmental variables affect thermal comfort which in turn affects performance. Human physiology and cognitive functioning are less effective outside of normal core body temperature levels. This is essentially to say that if it’s too cold or too hot we become distracted and can’t focus on our work.
Research has found that performance declines by 2% for each degree above 77 Fahrenheit and by 4.7% for each degree below 70 Fahrenheit. The ideal meeting temperature lies anywhere between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also been found that gradually decreasing the temperature to 65 degrees an hour before the end of the work day can help fight the afternoon slump and boost productivity.
Air Quality and Indoor Air Pollution
Air quality refers to the level of pollutants in the air, including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) released by some furniture and building materials, and Carbon Dioxide exhaled by people and created during the burning of fossil fuels. To combat poor air quality, a regular supply of fresh air through a ventilation system of from windows is necessary.
Improved ventilation can result in up to an 11% increase in productivity. High CO₂ levels can have a negative impact on information retrieval, subjective workload, perceived fatigue, and lack of motion. Decision making skills and reading performance will also decrease if CO₂ levels are too high.
“Studies have repeatedly shown that uncomfortable environmental conditions can negatively affect performance in the general office space and meeting rooms. This provides a strong business case to control and adapt these conditions in order to boost productivity and worker performance in meetings”, comments Dr. Nigel Oseland.
Creating the Ideal Office Environment for You
Indoor environmental conditions affect performance in the general office space and meeting rooms. Temperature and air quality affect health, wellbeing, performance, mood, and motivation. Uncomfortable conditions can negatively impact employee performance and productivity, including concentration, creativity, reading, and mental math.
When it’s time to make the decision to renew your office lease or find a new location for your business, consider moving to a building that can support an ideal environment. Our office “A” rated offices can be customized for your needs, ensuring that your employees are working in a productive environment every day.