Effect of temperature on task performance in office environment

TitleEffect of temperature on task performance in office environment
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsOlli Seppänen, William J Fisk, Quanhong Lei-Gomez
EditorQuanhong Lei
Conference Name5th International Conference on Cold Climate Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning
Conference LocationMoscow, Russia
KeywordsCommercial Building Ventilation and Indoor Environmental Quality Group, cost-benefit analysis, health and productivity effects, indoor environment department, offices, performance, productivity, temperature

Indoor temperature is one of the fundamental characteristics of the indoor environment. It can be controlled with a degree of accuracy dependent on the building and its HVAC system. The indoor temperature affects several human responses, including thermal comfort, perceived air quality, sick building syndrome symptoms and performance at work. In this study, we focused on the effects of temperature on performance at office work. We included those studies that had used objective indicators of performance that are likely to be relevant in office type work, such as text processing, simple calculations (addition, multiplication), length of telephone customer service time, and total handling time per customer for call-center workers. We excluded data from studies of industrial work performance. We calculated from all studies the percentage of performance change per degree increase in temperature, and statistically analyzed measured work performance with temperature. The results show that performance increases with temperature up to 21-22 °C, and decreases with temperature above 23-24 °C. The highest productivity is at temperature of around 22 °C. For example, at the temperature of 30 °C the performance is only 91.1% of the maximum i.e. the reduction in performance is 8.9%.