6.6 Health and safety
The working environment can affect productivity in different ways. For example, the act of observing workers can change performance, as can the effect of legal constraints on the working environment. These constraints will differ considerably between jurisdictions and will relate to ofﬁce space allocated, temperature and humidity, air quality, and perhaps layout of equipment.
In Western countries during the period of industrialisation, health-and-safety legislation played an important role in helping to stop unscrupulous employers exploiting their workers. Today, with modern ofﬁce work accommodated within clean and safe working environments, could there be any problem? There are straightforward new health problems, such as Legionnaire’s disease lurking in air-conditioning plants – but also, modern ofﬁce equipment and computers have created their own concerns. Could prolonged attention to a screen or use of a keyboard and mouse lead to problems?