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Indoor Air Quality: A National Survey of Office Worker Attitudes

Date: Feb 1985
Length: 56 pages
80405659-80405714
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SPEARS/OFFICE
Alias
80405659/80405714
Document File
80405553 /80405885 /Cotinine - Nicotine
Type
SCRT, SCIENTIFIC REPORT
CHAR, CHART/GRAPH/MAPS
Litigation
Stmn/Produced
Characteristic
ILLE, ILLEGIBLE
MARG, MARGINALIA
PARE, PARENT
Site
G65
Named Organization
Carl Byoir + Associate
Honeywell Techanalysis
International Communic
Publi Attitudes
Author (Organization)
Honeywell
Honeywell Techanalysis
Named Person
Sprague, M.S.
Alkire, L.
Master ID
80405659/5714
Date Loaded
12 Feb 1999
UCSF Legacy ID
wuo40e00

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Page 1: wuo40e00
I 0 -4 V. INDOOR AIR QUALITY: A NATIONAL SURVEY OF OFFICE WORKER ATTITLIDES
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I ND OO R AI R QZIA LITY: A NATIONAL SURVEY OF OFFICE WORKER ATTITCIDES Sponsored by HONEYWELL TECHNALYSIS ,~. Honeywell Inc. Minneapolis, MN 55408 February 1985 For further information, contact: Mary S. Sprague Honeywell Technalysis 380 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10017 (212)512.0614
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TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE SUMMARY.......•.......•.• .................................... 2 METHCQOLOGY ...................... ..•............. ............ 4 office workers... ........................................ 4 Sampling procedure ....................................... 5 Sampling tolerznces ...................................... 6 ANALYSIS....................................«...........,.... 8 1. The office environment .................. ........•.•..• 8 2. How workers perceive air quality in the office........ 12 3. What helps or hinders gaod~air quality? ............... 18 4. The nature of problems with air quality in the office. 21 5. Management response to the issue of air quality in the office ......................................... 25 6. Why are women more critical than men of the air quality where they work?................. .......•••••• 31 7. How offices are equipped to clean air ................. 35 APPENDIX A: Demographic composition of t-he sample............ 40 APPENDIX B: The questionnaire............ ......•.••••.••••••• 41
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2/ SUMMARY Office workers rank lighting, temperature, and air quality as the top three factors when considering~what makes an office a productive place in which to work. And two of these important factors - temperature and air quality -- are also considered at least somewhat serious problems by a plurality of office workers. In responding to these and later questions, women were consistently more critical and less satisfied than men with their general office environment. (Section 1) Office workers are generally satisfied with air quality in the workplace. But a significant minority (24%) complain that cigarette smoke, poor ventilation, and pollution are primarily responsible for "only fair" or "poor" air quality where they work. Of the total office worker population surveyed, over half believe that better air quality would result in a more productive work environment. (Sections 2, 3) One in five office workers say that air quality often or sometimes interferes with their ability to do their job. These workers reaffirm that the main problems with the air quality where they work are • poor ventilation • inadequate heating or cooling t cigarette smoke. (Section 4) Overall, more than two-thirds (67%) of office workers give top management a favorable review for its concern about the issue of air quality in the office. Support for management is strongest among those who enjoy excellent air quality and good~working conditions. Thus, women, who~are more likely to operate under conditions less conducive to good air quality, are somewhat more critical of management's efforts. But even among women, a 59% majority consider top management to be "very" or "somewhat" concerned about air quality in,the office. (Section 5) QD O .a O CJ' ~ ~ ~~
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l . - - ~- ~. . - - 3/ women are more likely than men both to have difficulty doing their job because of poor air quality and to say management is not concerned about air quality. Several ways in which their working conditions differ from those of men may be partially responsible for their more negative perception of air quality. women are, for example, more likely ' s to work in open offices a to work in areas without windows a to spend more than one-half their time at a computer terminal. (Section 6) According to office workers, just over four in ten offices today are equipped with facilities to clean or filter the air. Tenants in newer buildings are more likely to enjoy this feature than those in buildings that are 20 years of age or older. In more than one-half of the cases (58%), air cleaners are perceived to be part of the air conditioning or heating system - with the remaining units being evenly split between large floor or ceiling cleaners and' small desk-top models. Windows are reported to be a standard'feature in two out of three offices or work areas. (Section 7)
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4/ METHODOLOGY This analysis reports the findings of a survey of worker attitudes toward the office environment. The tables show the responses of all participants and -- when these are statistically significant as indicated on page 7-- the responses of specific demographic groups. In some tables, responses may not add up to 100% either because multiple responses were permitted or because percentages were rounded off to whole numbers. The survey questionnaire was developed, designed, and~analyzed by Public Attitudes, the research division of Carl Byoir and Associates. Interviews were conducted between August 29 and September 19, 1984, by International Communications Research of Media, Pennsylvania. Office workers This survey was conducted among a random selection sample of adult Americans that • are 18 years of age or older • currently work outside their home more than 20 hours a week in an office or in an office-type setting~(that is, at a desk, table, or computer terminal) • work in an office-type setting in which five or more persons are employed. In all, the questionnaire was administered to 600 office workers with these characteristics.
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5/ Sampling procedure To ensure that the responses elicited'from the sample were statistically representative of office workers nationwide, the following sampling procedure was used: (1) Because several persons in a household may be office workers, the ratio between male and female office workers was estimated through a preliminary pretest. This ratio was then adjusted to reflect the actual population of males and females in the United States. A quota system was used to ensure that the final sample would accurately represent the actual percentages of male and female office workers nationwide. (2) To avoid over-representing any geographical area, stratified random sampling was employed, with an independent random sample drawn from within each stratum. In this case, nine strata were defined to agree with the nine Census Divisions (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), and interviews were allocated proportional to each of these nine Divisions. (3) Contacts were made using random digit dialing, a technique whereby a computer randomly generates telephone numbers in order to avoid~interviewing only those with listed and published telephone numbers. (4) Telephone calls were made to households on weekday evenings. They were controlled by time zone so that all calls were initiated between 5:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. local time in each time zone. (5) Once a contact was made, potential respondents had to pass a series of screening questions in order to be eligible for inclusion in the survey. The screen was designed to ensure that all participants met the definition of "office worker" described in the previous section. On average, the "screening" questions took three minutes to administer. Once the respondent had been selected, the actual interview required approximately seventeen minutes to complete.
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61 . _--_- ~__- __ 1 6/ Sampling tolerances A11 random sample surveys are subject to a "sampling error" - that is, the extent to which the actual results may differ from the results that we would have obtained if we had interviewed the whole population from which the sample was drawn. The size of such sampiing~errors depends largely on the nunber of interviews conducted. The following tables may be used in estimating sampling error. They indicate the range (plus or minus the figure shown) within which the results of repeated samplings in the same time period could be expected to vary 95% of the time, assuming that the same sampling procedure, the same interviewers, and the same questionnaire were used. (That is, the chances are 95 in 100 that the sampling error is not larger than the figures shown.) Table A shows how much allowance should be made for the sampling error of a percentage in tables reporting the aggregated responses of the entire stratified random sample among 600 office workers. TABLE A Recommended allowance for sampling error of a percentage entire sample (600) (In percentage points at 95 in 100 confidence level): percentages near possible error (+) 10% 2.4% 20 3.3 30 3.7 40 4.0 50 4.1 60 4.0 70 3.7 80 3.3 90 2.4
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7/ In ca,.par:ng survey results in-two subsar,,ples -- such as r=_n and women -- how la_,e nust a difference between the two results be tefore cne can be reason,,ayy sure that it reflects a real diffarence? Ta::Le 3 indicates the number of percentage points which must be allowed for when ccmparing the opinions expressed by two subsampies. T48LE 8' Recemmended allowance for sampling error of the difference between two subsanoles (In percentage points at 95 in 1Wconfidence level) percentages near 20 or percentages near 80 500 400 300 200 100 Size of subsamole 500 - - - - 8.6% 400, - - - 6.8 8.8 300 - - 6.4 7.1 9.0 200, - 6.8 7.1 7.8 9.6 100 8.6 8.8 9.0 9.6 11.1 percentages near 50 500 - - - - 10.7A 400 - - - 8.5 11.0 300 - - 8.0 8.9 11.3 200 - 8.5 8.9 9.8 12.01 100 10.7 11.0 11.3 12.0 13.9
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8/ • ANALY5I5 1. The office envircnment In this benchmark survey on air quality in the office, the opening questi^ns sought to determine the role air quaSity plays in contributing to a produc'+::' office environment. While not the most Prequently mentioned~item, the nature of the air is indeed amcng t`~e tcp three factors (after lighting and temperature)~ that office workers cite as having arvimpact onitheir productivity. In a follow-up question about potential problem areas, air quality is situated about midway between the most important concerns (temperature and noise) and the least important ones (lightingiand dirty surroundings). This position foreshadows later findings, which suggest that office workers might well be responsive to improvements in air quality, but they are not likely to take an aztivist role in,requesting improvements in this area. Office workers do consider air quality an important ingredient in creating a productive working environment, but they do not consider it a critical problen. Thus the survey suggests that it is up to management to be a self-starter whenlit comes to improving the physical comfort of its workers by providing,better air quality. Later findings show that, at the very least, workers acknowledge management efforts in this area, and the opening questions in the survey suggest that management efforts to improve air quality will lead to greater productivity. Respondents were first asked to consider a number of things that may contribute to making an office or work area a productive place in which to work. More than two out of three respondents cite lighting (87%), temperature (78X)~, and a.ir quality (68%) as "very" important factors affecting the office environment. Not far behind is overall housekeeping - how clean and orderly the office is - which is mentioned~as very important by 63% of office workers. While factors relating to privacy and prestige rank below these fundamental ~ items affecting physical comfort, they are still considered:"very" important p by large numbers of office workers. Over half say the size of the office or C1' ~ workspace (56%) and quiet (55%) are of paramount importance, and another 41% feel distance to co-workers is very important in helping to create a W productive environment. The only aesthetic factor listed -- whether the office has been.recently redecorated -- is seen as comparatively less important, being cited~by just over a quarter of respondents (277%) as a very i:nportant factor in helping to increase office productivity.

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