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The Impact Of Temperature On Office Productivity
How productive we are at work and at home can depend on how comfortable we are in our surroundings. This reality is recognised by businesses that have performed their due diligence and are committed to maintaining consistent air flow, heat and cooling in the workplace as a means to ensuring high productivity and good morale.
There is some disagreement about the most productive temperature in the workspace but the results of key studies are surprisingly similar. One of the most informative studies was completed by CareerBuilder in 2009. In this study the following facts were reported after interviews with 4,285 full-time workers aged 18 and older.
CareerBuilder Study Results
- 22% of respondents indicated that excessive temperatures, hot or cold, were distracting and compromised their focus.
- 11% of respondents said when it was too cold they could not concentrate.
- 19% of respondents indicated they believed their employers had compromised on heating and cooling in order to save money.
- 54% of respondents thought the temperature in their office environment was sufficient.
- 10% of respondents said they had running battles with other co-workers about the correct temperature setting.
Summary of these Results
CareerBuilder came to several interesting conclusions after their study. The body temperatures and personal comfort levels of employees varied greatly.
Uncomfortable temperature settings invariably caused productivity to suffer significantly.
Employers that understood the importance of maintaining temperature in the workplace at consistent levels outside the danger zones on either side of being too hot or too cold enjoyed higher productivity than those that were inconsistent.
Employees should be encouraged to wear layers. Some employees who are uncomfortable with the temperature inside an office can be more productive working outside.
According to AskMen.com, the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers has recommended that the temperature for greatest productivity in the Summer workplace is 76 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). During the Winter, the most productive office temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius).
Studies conducted by the British government and highly regarded Cornell University in the US are remarkably similar to the CareerBuilder findings. These studies indicate:
- An office temperature of 74 degrees would appease approximately 70 percent of the full-time workforce.
The British government recommends that the Winter temperature in workplaces be set at 74 degrees Fahrenheit as a result of this report.
The Cornell University study indicates that the most effective temperature should be consistent year round. The study recommends permanent setting of 73 degrees Fahrenheit of 63 degrees Fahrenheit and that the office temperature should not change during the year.
Cornell reports these specific findings:
- Productivity at 59 degrees Fahrenheit is about 90 percent.
- Productivity at 63 degrees Fahrenheit is about 95 percent.
- Productivity at 87 degrees Fahrenheit is 90 percent.
- Productivity at 92 degrees Fahrenheit is 85 percent.
There are other temperature considerations that affect productivity. Clothing is one of those factors. If employees perceive the office space will be too cold, they wear heavier clothing and, depending on their role, can be generally less productive.
Age and weight also play roles in productivity according to temperature in the workspace. Workers 55 and older tend to be much less productive in cold environments.
Employers can benefit from providing a consistent temperature in the workspace and a good, healthy air flow. Regulating the humidity in the workspace is another contributor to productivity. Consistent temperature and consistent humidity can easily and efficiently be provided by a regularly maintained HVAC system that will yield big productivity dividends over the life of the system.
Improve Your Office Productivity
For more information about how WM Aircon can help you to improve your employee productivity contact us today.
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