Lower Office Temperature Leads to Decreased Output, Quality

October 15, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A few too many spelling mistakes and subsequent 'love notes' from the boss? Blame it on the temperature!

A study by a Cornell University ergonomics professor has found that output, in both quality and quantity, suffers when office temperature drops. Alan Hedge found a 74% increase in typing mistakes and a 46% reduction in typing output when office temperature fell from 77 degrees to 68 degrees.

To conduct the study, Hedge placed miniature thermometers at nine individual work stations at the Insurance Office of America’s headquarters, located in Orlando, Florida. These data loggers sampled air temperature at 15 minute intervals for one month. The data was then compared to the month’s worth of ergonomic data in an attempt to dicern a correlation.

“As employees typed, we knew the amount of time they were keying, and the amount of time they were making error corrections,” Hedge said, according to a press release. “At 77 degrees F, employees were keying 100% of the time with a 10% error rate, while at 68 degrees F, keying rate went down to 54% of the time with a 25% error rate.”