Regulating temperature in a business environment isn’t easy. What seems like a sauna to some can seem like a refrigerator to others. Finding the right temperature range can vary according to the workspace and the workforce. But it’s clear that keeping the thermostat set to the wrong settings impacts productivity in your business. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
If body temperature drops, you start burning more energy to keep your metabolism high and stay warmer. Low temperatures are not only an uncomfortable distraction, but a drain on employee energy and focus. A study from Cornell University revealed that workers make 44 percent more mistakes when the temp drops to just 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but were twice as productive at 77 degrees. The recommended temperature for office environments is a median 71.5 degrees, at least. Women and those over 55 years of age tend to feel cold more acutely.
Office temperatures may be too warm for active industrial workforces that are mostly men. If your business requires heavy physical work, or involves sources of heat such as welders or furnaces, set a cooler environment to retain comfort levels, sometimes as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. OSHA regards internal temperatures of over 91 as unsafe, and anything above 103 degrees as a high risk to employee well-being and safety.
Other environmental factors can affect comfort, regardless of what the thermostat says. High humidity, for example, makes us feel warmer since it restricts how much heat we lose through sweat. Circulating air helps us feel cooler by increasing evaporation on the skin. High ceilings can help as hot air rises and cooler air drops, but inadequate circulation or dirty filters will also decrease air quality. It’s important that heat and AC systems are properly inspected and maintained to ensure they’re functioning at maximum efficiency.
Comfort and Trust
Being very uncomfortable can put your workers into what’s essentially “survival mode”. The body is telling the brain that something is wrong. Employees tend to become irritable and short on attention. When temperatures are too high or too low, it not only reduces productivity, but negatively affects relationships, another factor in production. An environment that’s comfortable and cozy, on the other hand, puts people at ease mentally as well as physically. Your team will be more engaged and cooperative.
Help your employees feel comfortable. Find an optimal setting, and move those who still feel cold away from vents or fans and closer to outside sunshine. The more comfortable your team feels, the better they perform.