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New research shows that air pollution may affect work efficiency

Date: 2017-10-21 16:29Views:

Researchers have found that breathing contaminated air can reduce the productivity of workers, especially white-collar workers, in the workplace. If you work in an office or cubicle that pollutes the city, your work efficiency may be relatively backward due to the air you breathe in.

Research on the relationship between air quality and worker productivity is not a new topic. Past studies have documented that polluting the air can have an impact on the productivity of farm workers and laborers. This time, the research published by the Bureau of Economic Research of the United States focused on the connection between air pollution levels and white-collar workers.

Focus on the efficiency of white-collar workers

The research team consisted of experts from the commercial, economic and health policy fields who investigated the work efficiency of one of China's largest travel agencies and 5000 Ctrip call center workers during the study period. At the call center, they looked into the staff's daily answering calls, the length of their breaks, and the time they logged on to the system. Researchers then found a one-to-one correspondence between these data and the local APIs. API is a measure of airborne particulate contaminants developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is widely used in many organizations in China.

The study found that the call center staff worked less efficiently by 0.35% for every 10-unit increase in pollution index, based on the number of calls processed. Although the average duration of each call is not affected by air pollution levels, staff rest periods increase. Poor air quality can result in underperforming of highly efficient workers, making them as inefficient as inefficient workers.

Global Results of the Study

The researchers noted that while Ctrip's research was done in China, their findings apply to any urban center with a higher level of pollution.

For example, Los Angeles APIs typically have a peak below 60, which the EPA considers appropriate. In some days the API in Los Angeles rises to over 150, which means unhealthy. And, for Los Angeles's local economy, the potential economic impact of these days is staggering. Researchers estimated Los Angeles service industry work efficiency was reduced by $ 374 million in 90 days when the level of particulate pollutants in the air was highest in 2014.

The potential benefits of air filtration

One of the implications of this research is to show everyone the potential commercial advantages of installing a high performance air filter. However, even when businesses invest in high-quality air cleaners, their workers are exposed to higher levels of pollution at home and on the move. Therefore, the conclusion of this study is that public policies must take the reduction of the overall level of pollution as a top priority.

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