Academic journal article Human Ecology

Warm Offices Linked to Higher Productivity

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Warm Offices Linked to Higher Productivity

Article excerpt

WARM WORKERS WORK better. Chilly workers not only make more errors, but cooler temperatures could increase a worker's hourly labor cost by 10 percent, estimates Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell's Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory.

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When the office temperature in a month-long study increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, workers' typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output jumped 150 percent. Hedge's study was exploring the link between changes in the physical environment and work performance.

"The results of our study also suggest that raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour," says Hedge, who presented his findings at the 2004 Eastern Ergonomics Conference and Exposition in New York City.

In the study of work environments, which was conducted at Insurance Office of America's headquarters in Orlando, Florida, each of nine workstations was equipped with a miniature personal environment-sensor for sampling air temperature every 15 minutes. …

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