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The Office Thermostat Battle is Based in Truth

Your physical environment can affect they way you work. I think we can all attest to that. Whether it is an uncomfortable chair, or a weird smell, or that the air is chilly, we all find our goals aligned with Goldilocks’–we are searching for something just right.

Certain things are easy to change. Uncomfortable chair? Get a new one, or bring in a pillow from home to help support you better. Weird smell from a co-workers lunch? Try taking a break at that time, or, if allowed bring in an air freshener or oil diffuser.

If you work in an office with other people, one thing that’s not always easy to change, however, is the temperature. Perhaps you are one of those people who always has a sweatshirt or sweater on the back of your chair for when you inevitably get cold. Or, perhaps you dress in layers because you know by 10 a.m. you will be sweating up a storm. It’s pretty hard for everyone to be Goldilocks in an office environment.

In fact, a 2018 survey by Career Builder has shown us that almost half of the people surveyed feel that their office is either too warm or too cold.

The question you may be asking is: so what? Why does it matter if some people think the office feels cold while others think it feels hot? Bring a sweatshirt, pack an ice water bottle and get over it, right?

Does the Office Temperature Really Matter?

In short, yes. Battle lines over the thermostat have actually been drawn down gender lines. A 2019 scientific study in Berlin, Germany examined the cognitive effects that temperature has on individuals. Their findings suggest that women perform better at higher temperatures than men.

That said, the improvement in women’s performance due to an increase in temperature was much more significant than the decrease in performance of men when the temperature was turned up. Because of this, the researchers suggest that businesses with both male and female employees may see better results if temperature in workplaces is raised. Please click here to read the full study.

What Should You Do About It?

It seems that sneaky warfare surrounding the thermostat is not just a petty fight. In fact, possibly without realizing it, employees are trying to not only increase their comfort, but also their work performance.

Though the above study by Tom Y. Chang and Agne Kajackaite gives evidence that temperature preference is a gender issue, it is important to remember that everyone is an individual. Therefore, the first step is surveying all of the employees in the workplace in order to learn how they feel about the current temperature setting. Once that is established, keep Yang and Kajackaite’s advice in mind to create a work environment that is comfortable and optimal for productivity.

But, There are Still Complaints About the Room Temperature…

Drinking a hot drink can help you feel warmer when the office thermostat is set too low

To be honest, you will never please everyone, so don’t try. Using the preferences of the majority and scientific evidence, find a thermostat setting that works for most.

Discourage employees from playing around with the thermostat themselves because when the temperature constantly fluctuates the HVAC system needs to work harder, which leads to higher utility bills.

For those who are still shivering or sweltering, you can offer some of the following ideas to help make the office a little bit more comfortable for them.

How to Feel Comfortable if Your Office is Too Cold (or Warm)

Dress for the part. Dress in layers that you can shed, or bring an extra layer with you. Wear sandals instead of socks and shoes to stay cool. Make sure to follow your workplace’s dress code with however you choose to dress.

Make use of space heaters or fans. Make sure to follow office policies and safety regulations when using these extra heating or cooling devices.

Use beverages to your advantage. If you feel like you are overheating, try an iced coffee in the morning instead of a hot one. The same goes the other way–if you are already cold, don’t chill yourself more with a cold drink.

Take a break. Breaks are good for lots of reasons, including regulating your body temperature. If you just get too hot, step outside for a moment or take a breath of air in the computer room. Feel frozen by the a/c? Spend a few minutes soaking up some Vitamin D in the warm sun.

The environment around you impacts your health, your emotional well being, and your productivity. Keeping in mind these recent findings about temperature will help to ensure that your business is a place where people want to be and where they can work to the best of their abilities.

Though we can’t necessarily help you with your heating and cooling needs, we are here to help you have a successful business. Contact us at Lumen Advisory and Finance for more information!