Finally some hard research to take to the boss as defense against freezing summer temps: Workers are more productive in warmer offices. That’s not just for Raynaud’s sufferers, it’s all workers!
For years we’ve heard a theory that workers are more productive in cold environments, but research has proven the opposite to be true – mistakes increase and productivity decreases as the temperature is reduced to uncomfortable levels. Research conducted in 2004 by Cornell University provides scientific confirmation.
The study was conducted by Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory. It explored the link between temperature changes in the physical environment and work performance.
Here are the findings:
- As temperatures increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output increased by 150 percent
- The increased worker productivity could save employers about $2 per worker per hour
The research was conducted at Insurance Office of America’s headquarters in Orlando, Florida (a location likely to be blasting air conditioning a good part of the year!). Each of nine workstations were equipped with personal environmental sensors that sampled the air every 15 minutes. The research team recorded the amount of time workers under study spent typing vs. how much time was spent correcting errors.
“At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate,” Hedge says. “Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”
The overall goal is to use such studies to create environmental controls within buildings that will optimize worker comfort and workplace productivity. That’s something Frosties can certainly support!
Here’s a summary of the study in the Cornell Chronicle: Study links warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity.
Also check out a related article titled “Summertime, and the Livin’ is Freezing” we published in July 2015 that reports a number of reasons why offices are often kept cold enough to give workers the chills.