The alarm goes off. After struggling to get out of bed, employees are hit with another challenge: What is the appropriate outfit for today’s weather – outside and inside of the office? Not only is office temperature important for employee comfort, but it can also directly affect efficiency. A CareerBuilder survey reported that 53 percent of employees say they are less productive when the office is too cold, raising the million-dollar question: What is the ideal office temperature?
Here are some definitive thoughts on the age-old debate.
According to the PGi Community
When we asked our customers if temperature affects productivity in their workplaces, they all agreed that it most certainly does. Compiling their perspectives, it became readily apparent that improper office temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, drive employees to focus on finding ways to regulate their body temperature. This in turn drastically hinders workflow.
According to the Research
Early research on the hotly-debated question concluded that cooler temperatures tended to increase and encourage productivity. Over time, however, research shows that the ideal office temperature may actually be warmer than originally believed.
A month-long office temperature study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, for instance, discovered fewer typing errors and higher productivity rates in employees working at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. At this warm temperature, the researchers observed employees typing 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate. To compare with the chilly alternative, workers typed about 54 percent of the time with an error rate of 25 percent when the temperature was set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Recent research continues to support this claim. A building environment survey conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology concluded that warmer temperatures don’t negatively affect brain power or productivity.
Along with productivity, these warmer temperatures can activate feelings of trust and empathy towards our peers. Thus, a warm office environment can further encourage fulfilling interpersonal connections between employees.
The Winning Temperature Is
Keep in mind that your ideal office temperature may fluctuate slightly depending on the kind of work and the people completing the task. For instance, women tend to get colder more easily than men. Warm environments may make creative and collaborative meetings more effective because the higher temperature induces positive, comfortable feelings.
Of course, we all know how uncomfortable and distracting a too-hot environment can be. For now, it’s all about finding the happy medium, rather than reaching the extremes of office tundra or desert. To foster a pleasant and productive working space for your employees, set the office thermostat to a sweet spot between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.