Every few years, a groundbreaking study propels our understanding of the impact indoor environments have on employee wellness and productivity. Old-timers will recall one of the first and most famous studies – a lighting retrofit at the Reno, Nevada U.S. Post Office letter-sorting department in 1986, which was merely intended to save energy. An unexpected surprise was that not only did it reduce energy use but the improved quality of lighting also increased the speed of sorting by 10 percent, decreased errors, and achieved a measurable half-million dollars in productivity gains per year.
Since then, our understanding of wellness in the workplace has greatly expanded. Recently, another trailblazing finding has been causing a stir in the wellness industry. It’s a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, which shows a remarkable correlation between carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and productivity.
The experiment consisted of participants playing a computer simulation game in three different office environments in turn: one ‘bad’ environment that had 1,400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 (such as is often found in offices and schools); another with a moderate level of 945 ppm of CO2 (a typical industry standard); and a third, which had an exceptionally good level of CO2 at 550 ppm. The game was designed to measure nine cognitive functions, including information processing, decision-making and recall.… Read More