Clean air
makes you more creative

Take a deep breath: Did you know that ­people’s strategic skills are up to 288 per cent better in an environment with good air quality?

Text: Blanca Sjöstedt     Photo: Bruno Ehrs    

Most people know that it’s important to have clean air, especially in the workplace. How many of us have been trapped in a crowded meeting room and witnessed how the suffocating ­environment makes ideas ­become sluggish and turbid, to the point of ­inducing yawns?

An interesting experiment was performed recently at Harvard University. It compared working conditions in environments with good and bad air. For six days, participants were placed in workplaces with varying air qualities. The aim was to discover how chemicals from furnishings affect our health and how ventilation aids productivity – an issue that has become more important as buildings are sealed for energy-conserving measures. At the end of each of the working day, the participants’ ­capacities were tested.

The results were astounding and the researchers ­concluded:

• If you want advice from someone, make sure they are in an environment with good air. People’s strategic skills are 288 per cent better in an environment with good air quality.

• Clean air does wonders for our crisis management skills, which are 131 per cent sharper in clean air than in a room with poor air quality.

• Our ability to handle large amounts of information is almost three times better in an environment with good air.

Given that we spend 90 per cent of our time indoors, it is remarkable how often the indoor environment is ­neglected. According to National Education Association one third of the schools in the United States has a problem with the air quality. How can any child be expected to succeed in these circumstances?

Pure facts

It’s not unusual that the air you’re breathing inside your home is two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Under extreme circumstances it can be up to 100 times worse according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.