Why Workplace Temperature Regulation is Important to Productivity

Don’t touch that dial! At least, not unless you want to risk the wrath of your workforce. The ideal workplace temperature is hotly debated, but it’s about more than just comfort. Workplace temperature regulation directly impacts productivity. Here’s why your building should ensure that you regulate the environment for maximum comfort and efficiency.

What is the Ideal Workplace Temperature?

Some like it hot. Some like it not. Your workplace may be divided between those who are constantly freezing and those who are always sweating. NPR reports that the ideal temperature for men tends to be around 72 degrees. But for women, the perfect temperature is 77 degrees. That can be challenging for building managers seeking to set a thermostat at a temperature everyone can agree on.

According to a survey conducted by UC Berkeley, nearly two in five workers (39%) report feeling dissatisfied with their workplace temperature. Some companies address the issue the old-fashioned way: distributing company sweaters or electric fans to help workers adjust to the temperature. But still, others pursue a temperature that keeps workers working at peak performance.

Workplace Temperature and Productivity

The general assumption is that when workers are comfortable, they work harder. Conversely, workers will lose focus if they are distracted by the temperature. For example, Cornell University discovered that when workers feel cold, they make more errors. This can raise the cost of labor by as much as 10%. Cornell researchers conclude that by raising your thermostat to a comfortable degree, you can save roughly $2 per hour for each employee.

Workplace Temperature Regulation and the Gender Gap

Historically, building managers and senior leaders have been male. This means that the workplace temperature has been controlled by those who prefer a colder temperature. But women tend to be more productive in warmer environments.

In a 2019 study, women scored higher on tests taken in warmer rooms. The same study discovered that for men, the reverse is true. Men tend to be more productive at cooler temperatures. Maybe that’s why Mark Zuckerburg keeps his thermostat below 60. This creates challenges in environments with a diverse representation of men and women. What is the best way forward?

Addressing the Workplace Temperature Debate

It’s recommended by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that employers keep their workplace between 68 and 76 degrees. But they offer no specific mandate, which gives employers and facility managers considerable leeway in setting a workplace temperature.

Since workplace temperature regulation is critical to employee productivity, it’s essential to find a temperature that satisfies everyone. So here are some suggestions for how facility managers can improve workplace productivity.

  1. Identify the Problem – Is your workplace too hot? Too cold? What seems right to you may not be the consensus. Ask other managers or employees to gauge when and if to adjust the temperature.
  2. Find the Middle Ground – Chances are that you’ll have employees who find the workplace too hot and those who are too cold. Find the middle ground by setting the temperature between these extremes.
  3. Make Individual Adjustments – Unless you find the “Goldilocks” zone where the temperature is “just right,” workers may still feel uncomfortable. However, workers can make individual adjustments by dressing in layers or using a desk fan/heater to adapt.
  4. Offer Hybrid Work Options – This may be another reason to offer hybrid options. Workers who can work at home for at least a portion of the week may be less displeased by the office temperature.

Commercial HVAC Services for Businesses

Temperature regulation demands an efficient HVAC system. The Severn Group is a leading HVAC contractor, serving clients in the Maryland and Washington D.C. metro areas. Contact us today for your free quote.