For many years now, offices around the world are struggling to maintain a comfortable work environment for their employees. The “ideal office temperature” should please everyone and support the health, productivity and well-being of the staff. However, office temperatures outside the thermic comfort range are one of the most common complaints amongst the “corporate world”.
So, while we’re feeling the winter chill outside, there’s a hot topic inside the office building that deserves all our attention: the temperatures war. Keep calm and read on!
- How high and how low can the office temperature go?
Wherever staff members have access to the temperature control system, you feel like you’re on a roller coaster: up and down the tracks, feeling too hot or too cold from one moment to another.
The conflict: employees adjusting the temperature for their own comfort, disregarding other’s opinions, needs and preferences.
The solution: In Australia, most people work comfortably in the office when temperatures are between 20°-24°C during winter and 23°-26°C during summer. Respecting and adjusting them according to the season would keep more employees happy and productive.
- Why is it getting so hot in the office?
At first glance, the office seems to be in tip-top shape: happy and satisfied staff, thermostat set according to guidelines and air conditioner working just fine.
The conflict: some employees say it’s too hot around their desk while others are perfectly fine
The solution: check for older personal computers as they can generate as much heat as a small fan force heater. Servers and printers crowded up in one particular area of the office can also be responsible for raising local temperatures above the room average, so you could either separate the desks from the machines or distribute them evenly throughout the office.
- Be a few degrees wiser and understand the scientific explanation of the conflict
Maybe blaming the lack of thermal comfort for your modest last performance review isn’t the smartest thing to do. However, there’s a grain of truth in it, so let’s take a look into what can cause this “battle”.
The conflict: some people are freezing in the office, while others are sweating
The solution: Humans have a thermostat centre located at the base of the brain called the hypothalamus where a thyroid gland regulates our body’s metabolism. For example, when it’s cold outside, the skin registers the change in temperature and stimulates the hypothalamus and thyroid to increase metabolism and generate body heat. Still, the sensitivity varies from one person to another. You should find a common ground and therefore understand that some people feel the cold more than others do but, on the other hand, they can tolerate much higher temperatures than their colleagues.
- Think outside the office box!
There are times when you feel you’ve got to the end of your patience. You think of every possible way to install an individual temperature control system in your own cubical and simply mind your own business.
The conflict: the “temperature battle” has gone so far that you’re either sweating or freezing to death in the office; plus, you’re much less productive and cannot think properly
The solution: Actually, studies show that warm workplaces are suitable for creative thinking, while cooler environments help people stay alert and support their analytical thinking. That explains why journalists and technical teams, for instance, usually have their own offices.
That being said, while finding an “ideal temperature” is close to impossible, there should be a mentality shift from “winners and losers” to understanding, tolerating and working together to create a workplace as comfortable as possible.
Until next time, have a productive week!