Too hot, and your veins swell and brain slows to a halt. Too cold, and you can’t stop shivering to get any work done. Finding the ideal temperature for the workplace is critical for maintaining a productive, healthy, and happy workforce. Give your employees the ability to set the temperature of their working environment, however, and you will quickly discover a very small war going on underneath your nose.
What is a Productive Working Temperature?
The temperature recommended by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is 68°F/20°Cand 76°F/24.4°C, but even within this range, there will be employees who are unhappy. The more realistic range, discovered by the Helsinki University of Technology, is actually closer to 71.6°F/22°C.
Put it at this temperature, and you will still find employees complain about being too hot or too cold. This is commonly known as the great office temperature debate, and it is a debate that will be featured in many workplaces around the world.
The Hot/Cold Debate
The hot and cold debate can often be seen as a gendered debate, due to the different sociological and physiological differences. In summer, for example, men are often expected to wear suits, where women have more freedom to dress appropriately for the temperature outside. Setting the air conditioning unit in this situation is difficult. Cool the office enough that the men wearing suits are comfortable, and the women who wore clothes acceptable for outside freeze. Keep it warmer; men in suits get too warm.
Physiologically women are typically colder due to their smaller size. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but on average, women will prefer an average of 77 °F/ 25 °Cfor their working environment, and men would prefer 72 °F/ 22.2 °C.
Finding a Good Middle Ground
Many companies have found a happy middle ground between 74 to 75 °F or 23.3 to 23.8 °C. A good way to allow employees to customize their optimal working temperature further. Allow for desk fans, small space heaters, or even blankets.
Maintaining Optimal Temperature in Extreme Weather
These small concessions, however, are only available if you are able to maintain an average room temperature of 75 °F/ 23.8 °Cthroughout the year. This means investing in industrial-strength solutions to combat both extreme heat and extreme cold.
How to Cool Down During Summer
If you own your own property, then it is important to invest in solutions that work for your climate. If your office is located in a dry, hot climate, then you can use an evaporative cooler that works to cool the air by as much as 20 degrees/ 68 Fahrenheit and add some much-needed moisture to the air. These coolers are most effective during the hottest part of the day during low humidity.
Typically speaking, air conditioners always work best in low humidity, so investing in a dehumidifier is another great solution for your office.
How to Better Warm Up During Winter
Typical offices you would rent should contain their own heating system. If you are working on a construction site or in a warehouse, however, then you will need a more portable solution like an industrial fan heater.
Maintaining an optimal temperature throughout the year is how you will keep your employees comfortable, healthy, and productive.