Recently, a number of full-time employees in Australia were asked what they hated the most about their workplace environment. And, surprisingly, the answer that came out on top wasn’t their colleagues — it was the temperature of the office.
Room temperature may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to employee satisfaction and productivity, with things like human resources and agile office layouts being issues that take centre stage when it comes to workplace management. Yet the temperature of your workplace can have a major impact on the productivity of employees — workers feeling uncomfortable at work will inevitably experience a drop in productivity, and may even cause adverse health effects too.
Why office temperatures are greeted with a frosty reception
Here’s just a few reasons why the temperature of the workplace could lead to employee dissatisfaction:
- Inability to control temperature. Sometime in the ‘50s, property developers decided that 22 degrees was the optimal workplace temperature regardless of conditions outside of the office, and nothing has changed since then. The 22 degrees’ rule is so engrained that it is often legally written into leases. It is said that 22 degrees is the optimal temperature for 44-year-old males, which leads to our next point…
- Temperature discriminates. As with any one-size-fits-all solution that is designed as a compromise for many different people, it is impossible to satisfy everybody in the office when it comes to temperature. Human beings come in all different shapes and sizes — for example, studies have shown that women produce around 30 per cent less heat than men, meaning that having the office temperature set comfortably for male employees may leave female colleagues shivering at their desks. The difference in preference between men and women can be as much as 3 degrees.
Ending the heated debate
The answer is surprisingly simple, which makes one wonder why it has taken so long for people to cotton on. Businesses across Australia are gradually shifting towards a ‘19 to 25’ model — essentially, making sure that temperatures are kept between these two levels throughout all seasons of the year. This is so that temperatures are consistent with the environment outside the office, and also encourages managers to continuously adjust temperatures to the optimal level. To ensure that employees feel comfortable and truly enjoy being at work, keep a watchful eye on the thermostat and consider implementing regular feedback loops to determine what your employees truly want when it comes to the office temperature.