Worker Productivity and Ventilation Rate in a Call Center: Analyses of Time-Series Data for a Group of Workers
In previous studies, increased ventilation rates and reduced indoor carbon dioxide concentrations have been associated with improvements in health at work and increased performance in work-related tasks. Very few studies have assessed whether ventilation rates influence performance of real work. This paper describes part one of a two-part analysis from a productivity study performed in a call center operated by a health maintenance organization. Outside air ventilation rates were manipulated, indoor air temperatures, humidities, and carbon dioxide concentrations were monitored, and worker performance data for advice nurses, with 30-minute resolution, were analyzed via multivariate linear regression to look for an association of performance with building ventilation rate, or with indoor carbon dioxide concentration (which is related to ventilation rate per worker). Results suggest that the effect of ventilation rate on worker performance in this call center was very small (probably less than 1%) or nil, over most of the range of ventilation rate experienced during the study (roughly 12 L s-1 to 48 L s-1 per person). However, there is some evidence suggesting performance improvements of 2% or more when the ventilation rate per person is very high, as indicated by indoor CO2 concentrations exceeding outdoor concentrations by less than 75 ppm.