This is much focus at present within the professional world on general health and well-being, with intuitive initiatives and creations emerging almost daily aimed at boosting productivity and motivation via the provision of a better working environment. Better lighting, the addition of greenery, and access to outdoor areas are all well-known and widely-discussed methods of promoting well-being in an office environment, however a new study has revealed that the true cause of a downturn of productivity in your office may actually be a result of the unseen, as poor air quality negatively affects your workforce.

The study, conducted by teams from the Harvard and Syracuse Universities, involved the simulation of environments with differing levels of ventilation, carbon dioxide, and emissions from common office products. Employees were then tested as they performed their regular duties under two different environmental conditions; one which replicated as closely as possible typical office building conditions, and one described as ‘green condition’, in which ventilation was improved and carbon dioxide and other emissions were substantially reduced.

The comparison between the two sets of results certainly makes for interesting reading, as it emerged that employees performed 61% better on cognitive tasks when working in green conditions, as compared to the standard office environment. When the ventilation in the green environment was doubled, this figure further rose to more than 100%. Undeniably, air quality does have a definite impact on productivity.

Another study conducted at Harvard focused on 10 green-certified buildings and found that employees working within such offices suffered from 30% fewer headaches and respiratory complaints. These employees also performed 27% better on cognitive tasks and were able to get a better night’s sleep.

With the aforementioned points in mind, it does appear that the argument for the provision of clean air in offices is, well, airtight. As ‘presenteeism’ culture becomes ever more prevalent and damaging, such research is of great importance and will surely continue, revealing further insights which we will try to document here at 1850 Thoughts. For now, think about how you can take steps towards a more health-conscious working environment.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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