Improve air in your home office & you work smarter.
Alabama politics may not be the only thing that’s muddying your brain. A new study shows that poor indoor air quality hurts the way people make decisions.
The study examined air quality’s impact on workers in offices, but its findings also could apply to people who work from home, a common trend in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and other North Alabama communities.
The study, reported in Harvard Business Review, followed up on numerous in-depth reports documenting that poor air quality in offices –- especially the lack of fresh, clean air –- causes absenteeism and health problems such as headaches, irritated eyes and coughing.
“Given these studies tying air quality to health, we wanted to see whether improved ventilation affects cognitive function, an indicator of worker productivity,” wrote Joseph G. Allen, a Harvard professor and the leader of the study.
“Specifically, does better air influence a worker’s ability to process information, make strategic decisions, and respond to crises?”
The answer is yes.
“We found that breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making performance among our participants. We saw higher test scores across nine cognitive function domains when workers were exposed to increased ventilation rates, lower levels of chemicals, and lower carbon dioxide,” Allen wrote.
The tests are especially important to “knowledge workers,” architects, lawyers and other professionals.
He said the biggest improvements were in categories that tested “how workers used information to make strategic decisions and how they plan, stay prepared, and strategize during crises.”
Allen wrote that the costs of improving air quality would be minor compared to the benefits –- increased productivity, efficiency and health.
Read more about the study here.
To learn more about how you can improve the quality of air in your home and/or your home office, call Freedom Heating and Cooling at (205) 444-4444. Our trained staff will help you improve the indoor air quality and make life better for you and your family.