Tag: productivity

Tech to boost work-from-home productivity

By Lauren Wadowsky for The Gadget Flow 

Take a look at our guide to the tech that made working from home possible. From VPNs to productivity apps, these technologies simplify work outside the office.

Technology is essential to running a business, but that’s become even more evident over the past few years. Due to global situations, many businesses had to adapt quickly to significant changes, and technology became the crutch that made it all, especially work-from-home productivity, easier.

Now that some world issues have subsided, we have adapted WFH technology to everyday life. And today, we’re breaking it down. Take a look at our guide to learn more about the tech that made work from home possible.

Cybersecurity protects work-from-home tech
A problem that appeared during lockdowns was cybersecurity. People went home and used their personal computers, which were sometimes connected to unsecured public networks for the sake of work-from-home productivity.

Unfortunately, this increased the risk that hackers would reach business data. If that business had customers or even an e-commerce aspect, hackers could be within reach of customer data and bank details.

Luckily, there have been advancements in this area. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), end-to-end encryption, and cloud security have all allowed for more secure laptop use at home. VPNs disguise your device, allowing you to access sites worldwide while blocking hackers.

Then, end-to-end encryption makes contactless payment devices secure and doesn’t allow hackers to intercept your transfer. Furthermore, cloud security is a third party that can store your data with more protective measures.

Productivity boosters keep people on target
A big issue managers had with working from home was that they assumed productivity would decrease. It’s a natural worry. The kids are demanding, the television’s distracting, and the very idea of home evokes relaxation, not work-from-home productivity.

So it makes sense that many PC, Apple, and Android productivity apps hit the market aiming to keep productivity up. Spike, for instance, makes using Gmail easier with its Priority Inbox that transforms traditional email structures into a beautiful chat interface. In fact, productivity apps make the more arduous office tasks easier and help users manage tasks and monitor productivity.

Video calls are now a normal part of business
Another initial problem with working from home was forcing ourselves to do something we all hate: adapting to new technology quickly. Of course, video calls were nothing new, though they had previously been relegated to the occasional call to grandma.

But, with physical separation, video calls began to include teachers, students, employees, and employers. Not to mention videoconferencing with every other professional you couldn’t see in person, like doctors and therapists.

Many businesses took up platforms like Google Voice and Microsoft Teams to keep in touch with their colleagues, allowing companies to continue collaborating and practice the one rule of any human relationship: clear communication.

Overall, technology allowed many businesses to continue operating without much of a hitch during the past couple of years. We can’t wait to see how it continues to support work-from-home productivity.

By Warren Bonheim, MD of Zinia

The world of work as we know it is has changed dramatically and with it a growing number of productivity killers that impact your success. With the pace of work, increased digitisation and time pressures, these productivity killers can derail careers and businesses.

Entrepreneur Warren Bonheim, managing director of Zinia, shares his top six productivity killers you need to get on top of today:

Incorrect use of focus and energy

Every person’s body and mental rhythm is different, we all have times throughout the day where we have more energy to focus, and times when our energy dips. When our energy is low our focus is impacted.

Yet most people are unaware and do not utilise peak energy times to their advantage. Using your peak energy times to focus on high impact activities and low energy times to do tasks that don’t require huge mental focus, will dramatically increase productivity.

If your peak energy time is first thing in the morning, then driving in traffic will negatively impact your focus time. It may be better to use that time to your advantage and set your travel time for later.

Also, I find that people who work flat out and do not take breaks are in fact draining their energy. While it may seem like you are being productive, in fact you are becoming less effective and can lead to burnout. It is far better to take short breaks to boost your energy then go back to your desk to resume tasks with more focus.

Stuck in the capacity trap

Having too much work and not available capacity is an absolute productivity killer. Yet most of us just put our heads down and try to tackle everything; what suffers the most is your ability to achieve.

We relentlessly rush through tasks to meet deadlines, never really giving every task or project the time it deserves to be done thoroughly. Not to mention the emotional impact of not being fully satisfied with the work we have done.

Also, find ways to create efficiency and better ways of working which ultimately generates more capacity. Productivity tools that analyse where you are spending too much time can help you create efficiency, whether it is by changing a work habit, using work applications more effectively, or even changing a cumbersome work process.

By taking the time to evaluate your available work hours and ways of working realistically against the work you have, and understanding your true capacity, you can now implement solutions to improve your productivity and that of your teams.

Help, too many distractions

Distractions can affect your ability to focus and get work done, so it is important to be aware of the distracting influences in your environment. If you work from home your distractions are obvious, like being interrupted by kids or domestic duties, so it is important to have a private space where you are undisturbed.

In a work environment, people interrupt you, especially if you are in an open plan office. It is so much easier to walk over to talk to someone and get a response, even if you can see they are busy with something.

What you may need to do is set some clear boundaries such as wearing headphones that signal you wish not to be disturbed, or work from a boardroom when you need focus time.

Another common distraction is messaging apps and email whose presence is immediately felt with a sound signalling the arrival of a new message. By putting notifications on silent for a short time, or resisting the urge to keep checking emails, you give yourself focus time after which you can attend to any incoming messages.

Where did the time go?

Whether you work remotely or in the office, time management is an issue that affects everyone. Many people struggle with time management faced with different aspects in their day like long meetings, managing deadlines, new work projects, interruptions and remaining focused.

The key to time management is being aware of where you spend most of your time and then finding a way to manage your time throughout the day effectively.

This is far more difficult to do when you don’t use a productivity tool as the day goes past so quickly that it is virtually impossible to remember what you worked on, when, and on which day.

However, awareness of where the problem lies is a key factor in helping you manage time better.

Micromanagement

This has to be one of the biggest productivity killers of the day. While micromanagement has its place if a person is not performing, it places immense stress on you and therefore produces the opposite desired result.

Have you ever felt your heart rate rise when someone stands over your shoulder or asks where something is which you haven’t gotten to yet? It is natural for the body to respond negatively.

Understanding why people micromanage gives some insight; it is usually driven by a lack of information / the fear of the unknown. And this is further exacerbated by the shift to remote working where people are disconnected.

The fact is that constant check-ins are an interruption to the flow of work and can hinder progress of work.

Use of technology systems or processes

While no one likes to admit that technology or processes can sometimes result in a lack of productivity, the fact is that it does happen.

There is nothing worse than trying to complete an important task and it takes an hour instead of a few minutes. Or be told to follow a process which in fact adds more time not less.

Whether it is inconsistent internet, an inefficient process, slow computer applications, or lack of technology training, this is often a silent productivity killer that flies under the radar.

Today, there are productivity tools like WorkStatz which can help by measuring where you spend your time on your computer, like a fitness app that monitors your physical activity so you stay on track of your fitness goals. WorkStatz provides valuable insights on time challenges such as too many meetings, long meetings, applications that hinder success, high or low workloads, ineffective processes, too many administrative tasks, multitasking challenges and so on.

Productivity leads to success and embracing tech tools to help you may be just what you need to banish those productivity killers forever.

 

How to regain your office productivity

Focusing in the office has long been difficult, especially since companies became evangelical about knocking down walls in the name of open plan collaboration and lowering costs. But now, after nearly two years at home for many people, the return can feel almost designed to undermine your productivity.

“We have to relearn how to work in an office for eight hours,” says Linda Trim, director at Giant Leap, one of South Africa’s largest workplace design consultancies.

“It brings into stark relief just how noisy and disruptive the office can be. Our remote work settings certainly weren’t always havens of peace and concentration either – but many of us adjusted.

“Now, sitting near our co-workers again feels odd: there’s so much movement, collaboration and talk. Background noises now seem to sound louder. Co-workers have 18 months of gossip to share. There are still dozens of Zoom calls clogging your calendar and your commute now eats into the hour you once used to tame your inbox.”

So how do you get work done?

Trim noted the problem is when we’re just using our brains to think it looks like we’re not doing anything. “You need a signal that tells your colleagues that you’re working.

“Close the door if you have one, put on headphones, attach a flag to your desk and flip it up when you’re heads-down on a project,” Trim advised.

“Then, honour and reinforce the signal. If someone knocks, politely tell them you’re busy and ask them to come back when the door is open. If you’re a manager, try creating office hours, periods where your team can come to you for help.”

Trim pointed out that she is advising many companies on office redesigns to meet the now even greater need for people to have quiet spaces for work. “Before Covid, managers didn’t always see the need for quiet places for uninterrupted working but now it’s what workers expect. Many companies are putting in additional focus rooms to allow people in specific areas to work uninterrupted or to take zoom calls in the office.”

Employees who have some flexibility on their in-office days can also use hybrid schedules to their advantage.

“Save work that requires deep concentration for home. And certain tasks – editing a shared document with colleagues, tackling confidential conversations – are also better done remotely,” Trim says.

But the office is now even more essential for bonding time: there is a really pent up need now for people to reconnect with colleagues and meet new colleagues for the first time.

“There needs to be some type of outlet for workers to talk and socialise. We as humans have an evolutionary need to feel a sense of belonging. Relationships grew too transactional when everything was online,” says Trim.

“Meeting face-to-face has helped people be more honest with one another and assume good intentions when projects hit snags for instance.”

She adds it was also particularly important for younger, less experienced workers to get back to the office to learn from senior colleagues while absorbing the company culture.

By Masechaba Sefularo for EWN

While many continue with the new normal of working from home, an Ipsos survey has found that the phenomenon takes a toll on productivity and staff morale.

The online survey, which was conducted over two days, showed that companies risked losing competitiveness as productivity slumped due to working remotely.

While many said that they enjoyed working from home, they also said that they had to contend with far more distractions.

Sixty-seven percent of the respondents quizzed on how COVID-19 had affected their work-life said that they were spending more time on domestic chores and errands while 27% admitted that they were not disciplined enough to work from home.

The survey found that younger workers, between the ages of 18 and 28, were more adversely affected by working remotely.

Respondents also highlighted issues of trust, the absence of on-the-job training and a sense of isolation, which affected team cohesion and organisational culture.

 

By Allana Akhtar for Business Insider US 

Being on your phone at work, once the sign of a bad employee, is now the norm.

Text messages are “making deep inroads” in workplaces across America, says Wall Street Journal reporter Te-Ping Chen. Yet messaging your boss can lead to accidental texts like “Love you” or “pumpkinbear.”

“While email helps silo work communications, the text inbox is a more blended affair, where notes from friends and family jostle with communiqués from bosses and co-workers,” Chen writes.

Besides awkward text exchanges, there are other miscues many employees can make as smartphones become more commonplace at work. For instance, overusing your phone or constantly getting bombarded with notifications can lead to decreased productivity.

“Productivity is often at its apex during a flow state,” when a person is fully immersed in an activity, NYC-based psychotherapist Jordana Jacobs told Business Insider.

According to Jacobs, while phones are great for the technology they provide, they also feed into our natural distracted state. Cell phones take us out of the flow state, “which is so fundamental to productivity,” she said. “Essentially, we are consistently interrupting our own thought process,” she said. To put it simply, our phones “take us away from ‘the now,'” she added.

It’s probably not plausible for you to get rid of your phone at work completely, but you can still take steps to keep it from getting in the way of your goals.

The first step to being more productive is identifying all the ways our phones keep us from staying focused. Jacobs and Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” broke down the phone habits that are ruining our productivity:

Mindlessly checking emails harms productivity
According to Jacobs, smartphones take us out of being in the present. When we’re constantly checking those work and personal emails, she said it puts us in the mindset of, “I’m doing this rather than just being where I am now.”

Constantly taking photos can keep you from being in the moment
One of the perks of today’s smartphones is that they double as high-quality cameras.

While it’s great to want to take a picture here and there to have a keepsake of a particular moment, Jacobs said that playing paparazzi in our own lives is another way of taking us from living in the now.

Checking social media distracts us from the actual task
Social media can feed our obsession with other people’s lives, but Jacobs said it’s also a platform for us to brag to our followers about what we are doing or have done.

Texting others keeps you from conversing with people around you
Jacobs said that texting and messaging other people can have you more focused on what those people are currently doing, causing a distraction from anything productive that you should be achieving.

Having your phone out all the time keeps you from prioritising
Jacobs said she believes that we have lost the capacity to be alone.

“We now think of the phone as our primary attachment figure; all of the people we know and love live in the phone, that’s how we talk to them,” she said. “We never actually have space by ourselves to contemplate, reflect, or gain insight into the self, in the way we used to be able to.”

Knowing and growing ourselves can be the most productive work we do, and our phones often get in the way of this.

Productivity apps can help and hurt your efforts
While Alpert does think that there are some productivity apps that can be helpful, he said he believes that relying solely on them or downloading the wrong one can actually do the opposite. According to him, the best way to stay productive is to have the right mindset.

“How someone thinks can significantly impact their behaviors, drive, and ultimately their output,” he said. “People should feel encouraged that developing a go-getter mindset is possible.”

Notifications on your screen can be distracting
Alpert said many people do, and these notifications – whether it’s a text message or news alert – can distract you from finishing whatever work you have started. He suggested shutting off social media notifications completely. “These merely serve as a distraction and probably don’t contain anything urgent,” he said.

Opening one app can leads to opening another
With apps, the internet, and other features of smartphones, you can easily find yourself going down a deep rabbit hole of distraction.

“Rarely do people go online or on their phones and stick to the intended reason for checking their phones,” he said. “If they’re checking weather, that might then lead to checking email, messages, or reading a news story – all this serves as a gross distraction and impacts productivity.”

The blue light emitted by your phone impacts sleep quality
According to Alpert, the blue light that is emitted from devices can affect our sleep patterns.

“Blue light is thought to enter the brain through the eyes and impact the pineal gland. This gland plays a role in melatonin production, the hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles,” he said. “So devices used close to bed could impact someone’s ability to get proper rest.”

This will have a profound effect on mood, energy levels, and ability to focus and complete tasks, he said.

Since we can look up anything  we may be losing the ability to wonder
This one may not be expressly related to productivity, but it is still concerning.

Jacobs said we have lost our ability to wonder, because we can pretty much look up whatever we need to – the answers to every burning question we may have are always right at our fingertips. “I think this truncates the creativity process and stunts our imaginations,” she said.

Written by Jason O’Brien for Training Journal 

The introduction of digital technologies into the workplace has brought with it a number of advantages. Businesses have solutions to improve productivity and reduce expenditure. Employees have greater flexibility and better tools to do their job.

However, the evidence suggests there are some downsides to the amount of technology we use in the workplace. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, sometimes limiting the amount of technology employees use can actually increase their productivity. Limits on tech can prevent fatigue and help staff avoid procrastination so they are worth taking a look at.

Tech affects our mental state

Technology may make our professional lives easier, but studies have been conducted that suggest it doesn’t make us healthier. Take this 2015 study of college students, published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. It shows the link between smartphone addiction and negative physiological and psychological symptoms including increased blood pressure and anxiety.

In 2012, the University of Gothenburg’s research into smartphone and computer usage found that excessive use is linked to stress, sleep disorders and depressive symptoms. If users undertake excessive use of both smartphones and computers, the risk of these symptoms is heightened, A computer repair Company in Springfield finds.

Affecting everything from attention spans to creativity, use of technology affects our ability to get a good night’s sleep. This in turn affects a business’s bottom line.

Sleep is the real issue that underpins the negative aspects of technology use. Affecting everything from attention spans to creativity, use of technology affects our ability to get a good night’s sleep. This in turn affects a business’s bottom line.

A 2016 study from Hult International Business School showed that a lack of sleep costs organisations $2,280 a year for every sleep-deprived employee. Without enough rest, the ability of staff to communicate effectively and problem solve is lowered – costing businesses money.

Help employees reduce usage

To combat the detrimental effects technology brings to the workplace, organisations are adopting the ‘Digital Detox’, an initiative that looks to reduce the level of exposure employees have to technology both in and out of the office.

For office-based workers, a computer is a necessary part of the job, but it means employees can clock up 30-hours screen time a week just at work. To bring this down, you could implement some of these work policies:

In the office

Active lunchtimes

Given all the distractions the internet provides us, it’s all too easy for staff to stay seated at lunchtime and use their computer for entertainment. To encourage people to get a break from the computer screen, you could organise recreational lunchtime events, particularly around exercise.

Put on a yoga class or find a local gym that could offer discounted rates to your staff – anything that gets people engaged and active. Exercise has been demonstrated to improve our ability to shift and focus attention. An active mind will help staff return from lunch ready to refocus on the afternoon’s tasks.

Tech-free meetings

Communication tools and applications make it easy to chat to colleagues no matter your or their location – but as a result, face-to-face interaction has become a bit of a lost art. Meetings are a great opportunity to ditch digital communications and rediscover vocal interchanges.

Adopt a meeting or two each week that specifically sets out a no-tech policy.

Inadequate communication between employees reportedly costs large businesses $62.4m a year. Communicating over digital channels like email doesn’t allow for facial gestures and tone of voice, making misinterpretation common. Encourage personal, face-to-face communication to minimise these effects and grow your team’s interpersonal skills.

Out of the office

Encourage a ‘leave in the office’ policy

Given the impact technology has on our stress levels and sleep patterns, organisations should look to minimise the level at which employees take their work home with them. Some office cultures expect this of their employees despite evidence suggesting it’s likely to have a negative impact on productivity in the long-term.

You might not want to go as far as France, who have enshrined in law the right to avoid checking work email out of hours, but encourage staff not to engage in too much work activity in their own time. The blue light emitted from our smartphones and computers suppresses melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep cycles.

Given the effect poor sleep patterns have on productivity, the more you allow your employees to switch off at home the more they will be able to focus when in the office.

Improve employee sleep to improve employee focus

A good night’s sleep is the key to having an engaged, focused and happy workforce. Too much exposure to technology makes it more difficult for us to achieve this – either through negative psychological symptoms like increased anxiety or stress or by suppressing the hormones we need for better sleep.

But organisations can help. Adopt a Digital Detox policy and help reduce the things that cost your employees valuable sleep. The result could see your company’s productivity increase.

Technology is making workspaces and work styles more flexible and collaborative by the day. Cutting-edge personal devices continue to infiltrate the workplace and with cloud computing and superior Internet connectivity, the idea of working from anywhere is the new norm. The physical workspace is evolving from static to dynamic to meet changing business and employee needs.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a growing trend that permits employees to use personal devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones in the workplace to access company information and applications. From increased productivity and reduced hardware, software and networking costs, to increased convenience, employee satisfaction and work-life balance, there is no reason not to foster a BYOD culture.

To BYOD or not to
Studies show that a BYOD policy can boost productivity by 34% and save workers well over an hour every day as employees work faster on devices they are comfortable with. New employees have a decreased learning curve associated with new devices. When tech hungry employees bring trailblazing technology into the workplace, it is bound to save time and boost productivity.

Roughly 75% of employees in high growth global markets and 45% in developed markets are currently using their own devices at work. In South Africa, BYOD is still in the early stages of adoption. Nevertheless, it is fast becoming an achievable must-have with the aid of security, device management and network scalability solutions to manage BYOD on business networks.

Overcoming the challenges
Data is the lifeblood of any business but giving employees access from anywhere on personal devices is enough to keep business owners up at night. Do their devices have the right security measures in place? Who else has access to their devices? What happens when devices are lost or stolen?

Start with the right cyber security. With Nashua’s Managed Document Solutions (MDS), businesses can harness the remote workforce by enabling secure access to documents from any device, provided employees have the appropriate access privileges. It considers whether documents can be saved onto personal devices and if so, what security measures need to be in place. MDS also takes into account the workforce’s need for secure and convenient access to business applications, bearing in mind that these are no longer protected by the business’ IT security.

BYOD is marred by grey areas, particularly regarding security, device monitoring and employee privacy and reimbursement. That said, best practices and policies are continually refined to strike a balance between business and employee needs. BYOD offers a win-win situation so instead of fretting about risks that may never materialise, invest in solutions that can bridge the gap.

Before stepping into the BYOD space, start preparing for device integration with a detailed digital strategy. Draw up a policy that stipulates usage terms at work and outside of the office. It must clearly communicate the implications of data breaches and should make employees aware of any device monitoring technologies used to track business-related activities.

Consider your network scalability and capability to accommodate the influx and simultaneous use of personal devices. Studies show that businesses need at least 20% more Wi-Fi capacity and sufficient wireless bandwidth to support mobile devices. As far possible, businesses should specify access rights and only authorise access to confidential information on a need-to-know basis. Businesses can also improve end-point security by enforcing the installation of the latest security programs and anti-malware and by linking devices to secure cloud-based network and data storage services.

To capitalise on the benefits of an increasingly flexible workspace, businesses must embrace BYOD as a powerful tool that can empower workforces and boost business productivity.

Great offices are not merely well decorated and thoughtfully designed, but also have a profound effect on workers’ productivity and their sense of well-being.

Richard Andrews, MD of Inspiration Office says, “It’s one of the main reasons why there’s a trend the world over for companies to make over their boring and old furniture by including stylish, pleasing chairs, couches and desks which is transforming utilitarian, drab spaces.”

Here’s how great office space can enhance productivity in the work place:

Boring furniture will make you lazy – and bored
Being surrounded with boring furniture, individuals oftentimes lose interest in work and lead to a drop in productivity “Even if we don’t think dull workplaces impact productivity they do by creating a subconscious listlessness that is associate with dreary surroundings,” Andrews says.

Vibrant colours bring enthusiasm
Lots of offices are choosing furniture and fittings in bright colours. “Bright colours assist in lifting a person’s mood. It’s a good way to alleviate stress, as well as increase productivity,” says Andrews.

Standing desks making your healthier
Several studies have discovered a link between the amount of time an individual spends sitting and her or his odds of developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

For example, one 2010 Australian study, discovered that for every additional hour participants spent sitting on a daily basis, their overall threat of dying within the study period (7 years) increased by 11%.

Says Andrews: ”A 2012 study discovered that if the average person in America decreased her or his sitting time to 3 hours a day, life expectancy would increase by 2 years.”

Keep it clean, and orderly
“Cleanliness and order are very important factors for an office that feels good to work in,” noted Andrews. “ A disorganised office deprives workers of the enthusiasm and send a message than sloppiness is OK.”

A clean and orderly office, helps to keep workers comfortable and productive.

Fixed spaces for handy items
A good idea is to always keep things in their place, as well as keeping them handy.

“Often workers put off their work because they need to get up and go to an additional place for finishing the task or wonder around trying to find something like a stapler. Keeping items handy won’t just speed work up, but it also makes you more productive,” says Andrews.

Where possible let the daylight in
“We all know the uncomfortable feeling of being stuck in a windowless room under fluorescent lights during daylight hours,” says Andrews. “Lack of natural light has profoundly negative effect on people’s health and therefor productivity.”

In a study entitled Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life researchers at the Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, reported that the detrimental impact of working in a windowless environment is a universal phenomenon.

It concluded that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life.

“Employees who did not have windows reported reduced scores than their counterparts upon life quality measures associated with vitality and physical problems. Also, they had poorer outcomes within measures of overall sleep efficiency, sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, as well as sleep disturbances,” Andrews added.

Furniture installed by Inspiration Office is created in South Africa by AngelShack. It is German designed but locally produced to international standards. All furniture is VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds such as adhesives and dyes) free, made from sustainable material and coated with anti-microbial finishing.

AngelShack is one of the first companies in the world to apply this anti-germ technology.

Gmail add-ons launched

Google has launched Gmail add-ons, a new way to work with business apps in Gmail.

Gmail add-ons make it possible to use apps within Gmail, removing the need to toggle between your inbox and other apps.

“With Gmail add-ons, your inbox can contextually surface your go-to app based on messages you receive,” said Google.

Google said that because add-ons work the same across web and Android, you only need to install them once to access them on all devices.

“Click the settings wheel on the top right of your inbox and then Get add-ons to get started.”

Source: MyBroadband

Poor air quality kills productivity

People who work in poorly-ventilated offices with higher levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly lower cognitive functioning which severely damages their productivity.

Linda Trim, director at workplace specialists Giant Leap, says that good ventilation is often the last thing people think about in an office.

“But it should be far greater consideration when you realise most people who work spend 90% of their time indoors.”

She notes that when designing offices, people typically think about layout and the look and feel of the space.

But interestingly, as buildings have become more energy efficient, they have also become more airtight, increasing the potential for poor indoor environmental quality.

“While design and energy efficiency are of course important, little regard is given to air quality. If it isn’t good, none of the other stuff matters because it diminishes worker productivity so much.

“It should no longer be an afterthought when you consider the high cost to businesses of having staff performing below par.”

Trim cited an October 2015 study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Syracuse University which assessed indoor environment.

“The researchers looked at people’s experiences in which both the participants and the analysts were blinded to test conditions to avoid biased results.

“The findings suggest that in office spaces in which many people work daily could be adversely affecting cognitive function—and conversely, improved air quality could greatly increase the cognitive function performance of workers.”

These results suggest that even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers.

The same study also ran cognitive tests on people working in enhanced ventilation conditions and compared them to those working in elevated levels of carbon dioxide which replicated the typical workspace.

They found that cognitive performance scores for the participants who worked in the enhanced ventilation environments were, on average, double those of participants who worked in conventional environments.

Researchers found that the largest improvements occurred in the areas of:
• crisis response (131% higher in enhanced ventilation work places over conventional environmental with elected carbon monoxide)
• strategy (288% higher as above )
• information usage (299% higher as above)

“Our understanding and refinement of the best working environment is still developing however it is clear that poor ventilation has a marked effect on worker performance.

“Improved air quality is a simple yet very effective way to get more out of people and help them feel better and more energetic at the same time,” Trim concludes.

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