Study: Cool Air Cools Worker Productivity

Lowering the temperature of your workplace may help keep down fuel costs, but you pay a price in lost worker productivity, a Cornell University study suggests. When the temperature in a month-long study increased from 68 to 77 degrees, typing errors dropped by 44% and output increased by 150%, according to the study conducted by Cornell's Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory. The study explored the link between changes in the physical environment and work performance. "The results of our study also suggest raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour," says Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory. The study was conducted at the Insurance Office of America's headquarters in Orlando. "At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100% of the time with a 10% error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54% of the time with a 25% error rate," Hedge says. Cornell is located in Ithaca, N.Y.

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