Most studies on the link between indoor environments and productivity have been conducted in controlled, static conditions often unrepresentative of the real world. This paper uses a case-study-based, real-world approach to empirically investigate the link between indoor environment and workplace productivity in a mechanically-ventilated office environment in southern England. Evidence gathered during the baseline period was used to implement two interventions limiting peak temperature and CO2 concentrations. Environmental parameters (temperature, relative humidity, CO2) were monitored continuously. Transverse and longitudinal surveys recorded occupant perceptions of their working environment and self-reported productivity, while performance tasks provided proxy measures of worker performance in terms of cognitive ability, speed and accuracy. Workplace productivity was perceived to decrease when occupants perceived thermal discomfort and stuffy air. Correlations with perceived changes in productivity were stronger for perceived rather than measured environmental conditions and for perceived air quality rather than either measured RH or CO₂ concentration. This implies that occupants’ subjective feelings can impact their perceived productivity more than objective environmental conditions. Furthermore median task scores were 15% lower when conducted at CO₂ levels above 800ppm compared to below 800ppm. Insights from the study can help to optimise indoor office environments and improve workplace productivity.
Gupta, RajatHoward, AlastairZahiri, Sahar
School of Architecture
Year of publication: 2020Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-01-02