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Research Links Environment and Productivity

Published: Monday, July 19, 2004 - 21:00

Preliminary findings from a landmark study on the impact of workstations on employee productivity show clear associations between performance and environmental conditions.

The study was conducted by Alan Hedge, a renowned Cornell University professor and ergonomics expert. He placed miniature personal environmental-sensing stations located next to workstations at the Florida headquarters of the Insurance Office of America. The monitors logged temperature, humidity and ambient light conditions for one month, comparing those with employee’s keystrokes, application usage, mouse movements, Internet activity, elapsed task times and the like. Using Magnitude’s ErgoEnterprise software suite, Hedge was able to track employee task times down to the second.

Hedge reported the following at the 2004 Eastern Ergonomics conference in New York City:

  • Results show clear associations between office work performance and indoor environmental conditions.
  • Results indicate that performance decreases as conditions deviate below a thermal comfort zone.
  • Reducing temperatures from 77 to 68 degrees F caused significant impacts to worker productivity: a 74 percent increase in errors, a decrease in keying output by 46 percent and an increase in labor costs by more than 10 percent per hour, per worker through decreased productivity.

For more information, visit www.magnitude.com

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