If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Get Out Of The Office? Workplace Temperature Has Shocking Effect On Productivity

10th October 2014

The summer sun is a blessing and a curse; a blessing if you’re on the beach getting a tan and a curse if you happen to be stuck in a stuffy office for the majority of the day. It could be no surprise, in that case, that a large number of office workers admit to spending more time outside during work hours, whether it’s lengthening lunch breaks or engineering out-of-office days. Here we look at the details from an infographic by air-conditioning specialist Andews Sykes Hire which suggest that a cooler office can lead to more contented employees.

Blowing Hot & Cold
Many of us have enjoyed a longer and hotter summer then usual this year, however that enjoyment appears to stop upon entering the office environment. Controlling the climate within a work space can directly influence the mental well-being of staff, who can suffer considerably in increasing heat. 80% of workers are unhappy with the temperature in their office, whether it be too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, and 14.9 minutes are wasted every day making adjustments to the temperature.

• During the summer months, 50% of workers questioned in the poll admitted that their office was too hot, with an average of 31% choosing to bring their own fan and 22% needing to leave the office entirely in order to cool down.
• Men are less likely to feel too hot in the office but are 7% more likely to extend their lunch break in order to spend more time outside.
• 40% of men admitted to being more likely to buy an alcoholic drink on their lunch breaks during the summer, as opposed to a third of women.
• 12% of men and women said the heat made them extend their lunch breaks by up to 20 minutes which can contribute to a loss of up to five hours of work time a month.

The winter season also brings problems for staff as offices remain too cold to productively work in. Both men and women complain about freezing offices, with an average of nearly 9% feeling the need to bring in a hot water bottle to keep warm and 56% of workers wear extra layers of clothes to work to fight the cold. Cold can create shivering which can cause muscle strain if suffered on a daily basis and a strong lack of concentration can also be expected.

How to Change Work Weather
If you have noticed a seasonal change in employee productivity or you are an employee who feels the pressure of ever-changing office temperatures, there are many variables to consider. One aspect that effects both temperature and comfort is dress code. Whereas implementing a formal dress code looks great, it can cause problems for staff who feel constricted in the heat and not warm enough in the cold. For the summer months, allowing staff to dress in more casual clothing that lets the heat escape can have a marked effect on productivity. Equally, the colder months can warrant warm jumpers and fleeces which are also possible to wear formally without letting the heat escape. It is hardly surprising that 56% of workers are more comfortable when able to adopt a more relaxed dress code.

Different temperatures affect different people and maintaining a balance is important if you are to please every member of staff. Personal metabolisms are an aspect to consider, as some people feel the cold more than others, meaning that there is no cut-and-dry technique able to please everyone. However, certain temperatures make obvious differences; for instance, Facebook has its meeting rooms at 15 degrees which they say has a rate of 90% productivity whereas 16 degrees is the current minimum office temperature. Helsinki University, however, believes 22 degrees to be the temperature that inspires the highest rate of productivity, perhaps due to the general climate of the country. Most agree that the highest levels of productivity occur between 16 and 25 degrees depending on the country, and the rate drops to 85% past 33 degrees.

Making Changes to Your Office
Regardless of temperature, staff dictating how long they have for lunch breaks and leaving the office because of its climate effects the business and how well it runs. Making small changes to the climate of your office could make all the difference in the coming winter months; keeping staff warm and comfortable may seem obvious, but all too often it is passed over in favour of other things.

Great offices are aware of the importance of the less obvious aspects of staff productivity and are constantly looking for ways to improve their workers’ experience in order to boost morale and creativity. Using a low cost online recruitment agency can maximise the potential of joining a top quality organisation who consider every aspect of staff morale, including office temperature.

We would like to thank air-conditioning specialist www.Andrews-Sykes.com for this informative and highly-recommended advice and content, please see their website for products and services that can make a huge difference to the motivation of your team.

"Both men and women complain about freezing offices, with an average of nearly 9% feeling the need to bring in a hot water bottle to keep warm and 56% of workers wear extra layers of clothes to work to fight the cold"