It’s tough enough having to dress for the changing seasons; when you factor in an uncomfortable office climate, it could make the job even more difficult. If it’s too cold outside during your commute and too hot inside, you risk wearing too many layers. If it’s the middle of summer and your office feels like it has a low wind chill, you might be in danger of freezing.
At times, it can be difficult to focus on the tasks at hand if the building temperature is too extreme. That’s why it is critical to business success to maintain an ideal office climate — but what is the perfect temperature, and how can you achieve it? Let’s examine the impact of a comfortable work environment on productivity and employee satisfaction.
How Does Temperature Affect Employees?
Often, one of the biggest complaints brought up by staff members is the temperature of the office. Individual factors such as weight, age, gender, seasons and stress affect each person’s body temperature, making some feel cold while others are on fire. Unsatisfactory work conditions can impact workers’ health, productivity and wellbeing. However, settling on one temperature is difficult as there isn’t a universally preferred setting.
Surprisingly, many thermostats used to be programmed by gender. However, these standards were implemented in the 1960s and didn’t really accommodate the influx of women in the workplace. Programmers regulated most building temperatures based on an outdated empirical thermal comfort model, which suited one type of employee: a middle-aged man. Women typically give off more heat and tend to be colder, making chilly facilities inhospitable.
So, What Is The Ideal Office Temperature?
Many office managers like to keep the building cold, and there might be a reason behind it. Research suggests that the “perfect temperature” to ensure the highest productivity is around 22 degrees Celsius, or about 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Though it is understandable that managers want their employees to be on task and focused, it might not be the best choice to keep the office cold in order to do that. The recommended office temperature is between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit — but the best strategy is to ensure a setting that doesn’t cause distractions.
How to Maintain the Perfect Climate
The first step to get staff to agree on a productive and comfortable office temperature is to simply ask. Some employees may give more obvious hints by wearing thick sweaters or investing in a small heater for the cubicle. Try sending an anonymous survey that takes all preferences into consideration.
Another tip is to consult with an HVAC professional. Thermostats can be delicate, with even a one-degree change making the building too hot or cold. A professional can handle the logistics and layout of the office to make sure the HVAC system can efficiently maintain a temperature that works for everyone’s age, gender and comfort level.
Consider investing in equipment for your team. Having a comfortable place to work is important to ensure prime productivity and happiness. Whether it’s with a space heater or a soundproof phone booth with controlled air flow, let employees know that they are worth your investment. Making the office as enjoyable as possible could do wonders for production.
If a consensus isn’t reached quickly or there is still some displeasure about the climate, offer incentives to get the staff moving. Encouraging people to stand and stretch throughout the day can increase blood flow and heart rate. Aside from stretching, place healthy snacks and drinks in the breakroom to promote movement and time away from the desk.
The Bottom Line
Once you take employee demographics and comfort levels into consideration, it may put staff more at ease in terms of an optimal office temperature. Ending the company’s climate debate starts with conversations and open dialogue — and could end with more personnel satisfaction and higher productivity.
Featured Image credit
Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash
Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash
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