Workplace Air Quality Contributes to Job Performance

Fagjun | Published 2017-06-01 02:43

How does air quality at the office affect productivity?
[Photo by Benjamin Child]

Good workplace air quality can help employees improve their productivity.

Forget corporate wellness programs for a second. Improving indoor air quality at the workplace not only improves productivity, it also doesn't cost much. At just $40 per employee to improve air quality, offices can see a $6500 increase in productivity.

Productivity is a top priority in any office environment. Of course, health is an important aspect of productivity. While fighting valiantly through a bad flu to finish those reports in time may be admirable, it's not actually commendable. “Presenteeism”—showing up to work sick for the sake of showing up—can make companies lose $150 billion in productivity.

Wellness programs thus focus on keeping employees healthy. However, keeping workplace air quality up is an inexpensive and effective way to keep employees healthy and keep productivity up.

The Effects of Better Workplace Air Quality

Adding some plants in offices can also help improve air quality.

In a recent study, researchers simulated two office environments with a special focus on indoor air quality. Each simulated office environment has its own level of ventilation and emissions from common office items. One environment is an ordinary office environment with typical conditions and air quality. The second environment is “greener”, with better ventilation and lower levels of emissions.

Researchers tested employees in the two different office environments. Employees in the second “greener” environment were able to perform 61% better at cognitive tasks than employees in the other environment. Researchers also found that doubling the ventilation in the “greener” environment led employees to perform over 100% better at cognittive tasks.

Another study tackles the effects of 10 green-certified buildings. Green-certified buildings are buildings whose designs focus on water and energy efficiency, lower carbon dioxide emissions, and good indoor environments. The study found that employees working at these buildings were 30% less likely to get headaches and respiratory problems. Employees were also able to improve performance at cognitive tasks by around 27%.

Best of all, employees involved in this study were also able to sleep better at night.

Offices tend to have low ventilation. There are also offices that have no windows and stagnant air. Improving workplace air quality, as the studies above suggest, is an efficient way to improve employee performance. When people breathe better air, they become healthier and more productive.

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