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Wrong Office Temperature Results in Lost Productivity

Wrong Office Temperature Results in Lost Productivity

Whether we’re shivering or sweltering our way through the workday, it seems the temperature in the office is never right. Worse still, getting the temperature wrong is wasting 2% of office hours, potentially costing the UK economy more than £13bn annually.

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That’s according to a survey conducted on behalf of air conditioning hire company Andrews Sykes, which polled 2,000 workers on the thermal comfort of their offices. The results, as most office workers could have predicted, is that well, we’re not happy.

Just 24% of office workers happy with temperature

Yes, the study found that less than a quarter of workers were happy with the temperature in their office throughout the year, with the remaining 76% either too hot, too cold or both as the seasons change.

Unsurprisingly, as a nation which is known for its love of discussing the weather, the survey found that UK workers are happy to grumble about being too hot or cold, with 48% of women and 31% of men complaining to co-workers. Some donΓÇÖt stop there, with 27% of women and 17% of men admitting that they have complained to management about the temperature in their workspace.

Thermal discomfort = lost time, lost productivity

But itΓÇÖs not just grumbling employees and a bit of discomfort which bosses need to worry about. As the survey revealed, more than a third of workers say that they take at least 10 minutes out of work each day due to being too hot or too cold. And it gets worse, with 29% estimating that adjusting to an uncomfortable office temperature costs them between 10 and 30 minutes of working time each day.

Taking these findings into account, the survey estimates that 2% of office hours are lost because workers are unhappy with the temperature. Totalling this up across the UK economy, they believe the potential cost could be as much as £13bn each year. That’s a high price to pay for a bit of thermal discomfort.

Men and women respond to temperature differently

But of course, anyone trying to get this right is going to come up with a significant challenge: we all have different perceptions of thermal comfort. Or, to put it another way: one ladyΓÇÖs ΓÇ£freezing coldΓÇ¥ is anotherΓÇÖs ΓÇ£just rightΓÇ¥.

In particular, the Andrew Sykes research highlighted another pattern which many
office workers have long suspected: women are more likely than men to feel uncomfortable with the temperature in the office.

This is at its worst during the winter months, when just 19% of women feel that the temperature of their office is ideal. By contrast, almost a third (31%) of men were happy with the winter-time temperature of their workspace.

The perception gap closed in the summer months, but women were still less likely than men to be happy with office temperature, with 21% describing their office temperature as ideal in the sunnier months ΓÇô compared with 27% of men.

And what about the challenges of the good old British weather? So far, this spring alone has seen temperature fluctuations ranging from 9┬░C to 19┬░C (and thatΓÇÖs just in London). How can an office manager prepare for that?

Do you think temperature impacts on your productivity? How do you resolve temperature disputes in the office?

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Author: | April 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

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