Here's How A One-Hour Meeting (Badly) Affects Your Brain

Here's How A One-Hour Meeting (Badly) Affects Your Brain

It’s now official : meetings are bad for your health! One scientific study has measured the levels of carbon dioxide given off during a one-hour meeting. It’s said to be enough to reduce your cognitive abilities.

If you’ve worked in an office before, you will definitely have experienced this scene: you’re taking part in a meeting, when you start bit by bit to nod off or daydream. The minutes go by, and your attention wanes, you have difficulty concentrating on what’s happening in front of your eyes.

One might believe that you have a short attention span…but according to a scientific study, this is nothing to do with it. It’s not your fault, but the room where you find yourself.

A study published in 2016 and led by Gensler, an American design and architecture agency, revealed that at the end of an hour-long meeting, the level of carbon dioxide in a conference room can reach 1,400 parts per million (ppm). The problem: in your daily life, your brain is only used to about 400ppm.

Cognitive abilities lowered by 50%

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Over-exposure to carbon dioxide has its consequences: according to researchers at the University of Harvard, cognitive function declines as the level of CO2 increases. More precisely, scientists measured that cerebral function is reduced by 15% from 945ppm. According to the Gensler report, at 1,400 ppm, the air becomes so polluted that cognitive performance can be reduced by 50%.

According to the researchers, this concentration of CO2 is much too high, with the consequence of affecting the areas of the brain linked to planning, attention, decision making, and the ability to understand new information. In other words, all the fundamentals for which your presence is needed in a meeting.

To fight this counterproductive phenomenon, there are some solutions: putting green plants in the room, opening a window to freshen up the air, or if there isn’t one, installing ventilation.

• Max Crow
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