Office Temperature. The Hot Topic…
It’s a challenge to find that one temperature that keeps everyone happy.
Temperature is one of the most important factors that impact our environmental comfort. It can impact on productivity and levels of absenteeism. Adequate temperature control is required to keep employees comfortable and concentrated on their work. And a difference of just a few degrees can have a significant impact on how focused and engaged employees are.
Surveys on job satisfaction, regularly highlight temperature as the biggest complaint about workplace. In fact, only 24% of respondents agreed that their office was an ideal temperature.
The problem is that temperature affects workers in different ways. A range of factors including gender, clothing etc. all influence the way in which a person reacts to temperature. The kind of work performed in the office even has an impact on preference; those performing more creative work generally prefer to work in a warmer temperature.
Office Temperature can impact productivity.
The problem with being too hot or too cold in the office is that it can directly impact your productivity; people don’t focus on work when their mind is distracted by the fact that they don’t feel comfortable.
Office Temperature effects employee wellness.
Temperature also effects the health and wellbeing of employees. Working in an environment with sustained hot temperatures can cause heat stress. While working in cold or fluctuating temperatures increases susceptibility to illness.
Absenteeism costs can have a significant impact on your business, so don’t allow temperature to speed up the spread of illness in your office. Temperature control must be a key consideration in any office fitout plans.
Another side effect of extreme office temperature is that people start to complain and in turn the general mood of the workforce will be negatively impacted.
Therefore, adjusting the temperature appropriately improves overall physical comfort and promotes a happier and friendlier culture among workers.
How to strike the balance.
The key is to have a steady temperature in the office year-round, with plenty of heating or cooling alternatives to adjust to changing conditions.
We tend to wear warmer clothes and more layers in winter so a cooler office temperature will compensate to give a more comfortable personal temperature. The opposite is true in summer when we wear lighter clothing.
Humidity also affects how you perceive temperature and a relative humidity level of 40% is recommended for comfort. Most condensing air conditioning units can control humidity.
In warm periods, open windows to circulate fresh, cooler air. Desk fans can also be purchased as another method of cooling. In colder periods, turning the heating up is suggested but make sure the office doesn’t become so hot that employees feel sluggish and lose their level of productivity.
When planning your office fitout, you should consider that men and women work better in different temperatures. Women tend to feel the cold more than men due to their lower metabolic rate. In one study, researchers found that women feel more comfortable at a temperature that’s 2.5°C warmer than what men consider comfortable.
Taking these measures into account should ensure you have a happy, comfortable and productive workforce. Studies have found that absenteeism decreases when employees have control of their temperature.
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