Research roundup: new evidence from air quality to aesthetics

by Sally Augustin
// Research

Why ventilation matters to company performance and how Covid-19 is affecting communication are among the topics in our latest round-up of scientific research on work and workplace

Why ventilation matters…

Two recent articles, in different sorts of magazines, confirm the importance of carefully managing ventilation systems. Writing in The Atlantic, Joseph Allen shares that  ‘My team at Harvard recently published research on the health of several hundred office workers around the world for more than a year. We found that people performed better on cognition tests when the ventilation rate in their working environment was higher. When they were exposed to more outdoor air, they responded to questions more quickly and got more answers right.’

Allen adds: Our team reached a similar finding a few years back in a tightly controlled laboratory setting. In that study, people did notably better on cognitive tasks when carbon dioxide made up about 600 parts per million of the air they breathed than when it made up about 1,000 parts per million. . . In our new research, we observed the effect in real buildings globally. We also observed a reduction of worker performance even at indoor CO2 levels that many researchers had previously assumed were perfectly fine.’

View the full report here.

Written by Sally Augustin.