Warm Offices Linked to Fewer Typing Errors and Higher Productivity

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff December 22, 2004

Warm workers work better, an ergonomics study at Cornell University finds.

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

When the office temperature in a month-long study increased from 68

“The results of our study also suggest raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour,” said Hedge.

In the study, which was conducted at Insurance Office of America’s headquarters in Orlando, Fla., each of nine workstations was equipped with a miniature personal environment-sensor for sampling air temperature every 15 minutes. The researchers recorded the amount of time that employees keyboarded and the amount of time they spent making error corrections. Hedge used a new research approach employing software that can synchronize a specific indoor environmental variable—in this case temperature—with productivity.

“At 77

An abbreviated version of the study is available at https://ergo.human.cornell.edu .