Did you know that you can increase the productivity of everyone in the office by maintaining a comfortable temperature in the office? According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the comfortable temperature in the office should be between 68 and 76 F. Although OSHA does not set it as a requirement to maintain that temperature at the office, it recommends such a temperature for the comfort of all office occupants.
With comfort comes productivity. However, there are always office thermostat wars where some people love the temperatures hot, others cold, and others are not sure what they want. As a leader, you need to choose a thermostat range that accommodates as many people as possible – ensure that the office doesn’t get too cold or too hot to accommodate some workers.
At the right temperature setting, your employees should feel comfortable enough not to remember the thermostat.
How Does Temperature Affect Productivity in the Office?
If you are always complaining about the productivity levels at the office, you are not alone. Whether it is just one employee or all the employees, productivity is an issue is so many offices around the world.
Decreased productivity levels are witnessed when employees are always on their phones, replying and sending messages, sharing funny memes, talking with coworkers about the weekend that was, taking long breaks, and getting lost in thoughts during meetings.
Although the temperature is not the only factor that affects productivity levels, it is one of the main factors why employees might feel less productive. In 2009, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) did research on office creativity and temperature. From the study, 22 percent of the respondents found the office too hot, 27 percent found the office too warm, 19 percent found it too cold, and 54 percent found the temperature to be just right.
When the temperature is too warm, hot, or cold, the workers are not able to concentrate. Employers can make it comfortable for them by warming the room using a small electric heater. Today, it is easy to regulate the temperature ion these heaters. The heater is ideal when you work in a small office or a large office where workers are in small cubicles.
From the SHRM study above, at least half of all offices in the world are either too cold or too hot for the productivity of the workers.
What is the Right Office Temperature?
This is where thermostat wars begin. However, as a leader, you can always find a range that leaves every comfortable (and productive). According to a study conducted by the Helsinki University of Technology, workplace performance is at its optimum between 69.8 and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit – that is between 21 and 22 degrees Celsius. Productivity was highest at the highest point of the range, which is 71.6 F.
Cornell University conducted the same kind of study and found that cold workers make more errors when typing, thereby increasing labor costs by 10 percent. When the office temperature increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, it was observed that typing errors reduced by 44 percent. Typing output also increased by 150 percent.
Next time you think about productivity, think about the productivity of those working for you.
Other Factors Affect Productivity Too
There are many factors that affect how employees respond to office temperatures. Factors such as season, clothing, age, humidity, and health affect how an individual responds to the thermostat. For you to achieve maximum productivity for your employees, therefore, most of these factors need to be constant. If some workers are wearing heavy jackets when others are on light shirts, you may never come to a consensus on the right office temperature.
When it comes to season, winter days will see your workers less productive than summer days. In the same winter, workers can wear heavier clothing instead of adjusting the thermostat. This is the same for summer; wear light clothes instead of setting a lower temperature.
If the temperature of a place is comfortable, but the humidity isn’t, the workers will still not be comfortable. A relative humidity level of 40 percent is comfortable for all workers. However, when the humidity is low, a higher temperature (up to 29 degrees Celsius) will be optimal for performance. If the humidity levels affect performance at the workplace, a humidifier can be used to restore comfort.
When you manage office temperature and humidity, you increase productivity and reduce sick days. However, these two are only responsible for physical comfort. The workers also need to be mentally comfortable for their productivity to soar. Leaders need to find ways to motivate their workers t keep them mentally comfortable.
Maintaining office HVAC or getting small electric heaters and fans for the office will go a long way in enhancing productivity at work and improving the bottom line of your business. If the productivity is still low even after adjusting the temperatures, look at other factors.