Warm Offices Linked to Fewer Typing Errors and Higher Productivity

12/22/2004


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 ergo.human.cornell.edu .





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