When trying to find ways to boost the productivity of employees, there is one factor that most companies overlook — the quality of their indoor air. Studies show that providing clean indoor air at work can have a significant effect on people's productivity.
The basic purpose of having air filters in our ventilation systems is simple: to filtrate (clean) the outdoor air before it reaches the inside of our buildings. And in doing so, protecting people’s health, well-being and ability to be productive. However, not all air filters are the same. Some offer greater capacity than others to retain harmful particles and gases.
But does the quality of the air filter really matter? Can’t you just settle for a filter solution that offers a lower standard?
Modern research clearly shows that the quality of the air filter can make a noticeable difference. The higher the volume of air pollution that comes into a building, the more people will suffer from bad air symptoms like headaches, irritated eyes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, etc., resulting in less work getting accomplished.
A study of two call centers in Shanghai and Nantong, belonging to China’s largest travel agency, showed a direct link between the level of the Chinese Air Quality Index (AQI) and worker productivity.The call centers were deliberately chosen since they routinely monitored their output. It meant that the researchers had access to exact measures of each worker’s daily productivity.
By linking each worker’s output to the daily measures of the outdoor air quality and the weather, they found that higher levels of air pollution resulted in fewer calls completed each day.
If the Air Quality Index was up by 10 units, the number of daily calls handled by each worker would decrease by an average of 0.35 percent.
The researchers estimated that even a modest drop in air pollution could potentially increase productivity in the Chinese service sector by billions of dollars per year. They also concluded that the effects of air pollution likely affect major metropolitan areas all over the world in similar ways.
Poor air means less gets done
On a different occasion, another research team performed a series of experiments in Denmark in Northern Europe and Singapore in Southeast Asia.
Over two 8-week periods, they studied how the productivity of office workers in call centers was affected when various common indoor air pollution sources were removed and when the rate at which clean outdoor air was supplied per person was increased.
Their main conclusion was that poor indoor air quality can reduce the performance of office workers by 6-10%.
Choose a high-quality air filtration solution
To achieve productivity-boosting indoor air in your building, make sure your ventilation system is equipped with high-grade air filters, like for example, Camfil’s City range of combined particulate and molecular filters.
To deal with air pollution from indoor sources, we recommend investing in Camfil air purifiers. The commercial-grade portable air cleaner delivers 256 cfm and is equipped with 99.995% HEPA efficiency and odor-control activated carbon with an 18-month filter life!
The Effect of Pollution on Worker Productivity: Evidence from Call Center Workers in China
Indoor Air Quality Effects on Office Work
For any company or organization that wants to take their indoor air quality (IAQ) seriously, we highly recommend joining the global Chief Airgonomics Officer initiative.