Various studies claim to have found the optimal work temperature, only to be disputed by a new study with new finds. In fact, the issue of how temperature affects productivity is so subjective that a different sample group of test subjects is bound to give different results. You see, there’s only so many people you can fit in a single office and as soon as you have to include one more workspace, you risk tampering with evidence by adding another, unforeseen, factor into the mix. Therefore, instead of looking for an ideal temperature (as in a digit to type into your thermostat), we should instead consider different ways in which temperature affects productivity.
1. A perfect range
Now, before we even start, it’s important to understand one vital thing – when you have to think about the temperature, the productivity (especially creativity) suffer. This goes for both too hot and too cold. The hotter/colder it gets from what you consider a ‘normal temperature’ the greater distraction this becomes. As we already mentioned, this ‘normal’ range is quite subjective, yet, it usually goes between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius) in favor of the latter. According to the study conducted by Helsinki University of Technology, when the temperature is at about 25 degrees Celsius, the number of typing mistakes drastically drops and the output of work skyrockets.
2. Fluctuations between genders
Anyone who has ever worked in an office empirically knows that different genders have different tolerance to heat/cold. This is due to their physiological body composition and the fact that men have a higher muscle mass than women. This makes them get hot a lot quicker. Females, on the other hand, have a somewhat poorer circulation to the extremities (due to the fact that their blood mostly pools around core organs). This is something worth keeping in mind when your workforce is, due to the nature of the work, predominantly male or predominantly female. Remember, you can’t make everyone happy with the office temperature, so trying to accommodate the majority (despite how vocal the minority is) seems like a good idea.
3. The issue of money
One of the most controversial topics when it comes to office productivity and temperature is the one of frugality. Namely, in certain climates and during a certain part of the year, it may be easier to maintain a fixed temperature. For instance, in spring, keeping an office temperature between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius is much cheaper than doing so in winter or in summer. Moreover, the boost in productivity that comes from this feature is hard to quantify, which makes some of the less ethical entrepreneurs try to save money on it.
The problem is that they take their utility bill at a face value. First of all, you can look for cheaper prices with another utility company. Second, you can invest in maintenance, thus making a greater saving in both heating and cooling. For instance, by finding a reliable AC repairs Sydney partner, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of energy spend on keeping the place suitable for work during summer.
4. Other relevant factors
So far, we’ve only discussed gender as a relevant factor, nonetheless, there are several other issues worth addressing. For instance, the level of humidity within the room is incredibly important for the way in which people tolerate heat. This is due to the fact that a humid air makes people sweat substantially more. This is why low humidity makes the place feel substantially colder. This is also something that affects the subjective feeling of temperature in the workplace. Aside from this, one’s age (the older one gets the colder they tend to be) and their BMI (body mass index) tend to sway the feeling of warmth/cold in a peculiar manner.
As you can see, there’s more to the temperature-productivity correlation than just a number to set on your smart thermostat. With so many factors to consider and weigh in, it’s hard to make a decision here. Nonetheless, once you abandon the ridiculous notion of pleasing absolutely everyone in the office, things will become much simpler and your objective much easier to reach.