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Need more productive employees? Get an eco-friendly office, reveals study

Crisis response, strategy, and information usage skyrocketed.

Employees’ cognitive performance scores averaged 101% higher in green building environments with improved ventilation compared to a conventional building environment, according to a study by researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.

Nine functional domains were measured—basic, applied, and focused activity levels, task orientation, crisis response, information seeking, information usage, breadth of approach, and strategy.

The study found that the most significant improvements were recorded in crisis response, information usage, and strategy. Crisis response scores were 27% higher for the green environment, and 131% higher for the green environment with enhanced ventilation and reduced carbon monoxide levels compared to the conventional environment. Information usage soared a whopping 172% and 299% for the green environment and green environment with enhanced ventilation, respectively. For strategy, green and enhanced green scores skyrocketed by 183% and 288% for green and enhance green environments.

The study spanned six work days, during which, the 24 participants were tested after the end of each day. The conventional office had around 550 ppm of volatile organic compound (VOC) levels and 20 cfm outdoor air per person, the green environment had VOC levels lowered to about 50 ppm while outdoor air per person stayed at 20 cfm, while the green environment had VOC levels at around 50 ppm with outdoor air per person raised to 40 cfm.

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