Is it too cold to work?

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The law doesn’t set a minimum temperature for the workplace but the Health & Safety Executive suggests a minimum 16°C, or 13°C if much of the work is physical, e.g. in the warehouse. However you might find your employees aren’t working to their full potential if they’re say in coats, hats and scarves and can’t type because they’ve got gloves on. So what is the optimal temperature, both at this time of year with the snow, and in the summer when it’s baking hot outside?

Rashed from Economy radiators should know the answer and they’ve checked the research to discover not what the minimum temperature should be, but what the optimal temperature is to get maximum effort from your workers.

What is the best temperature to increase productivity?

If you manage an office, then you’ve probably wondered where to set the thermostat for maximum productivity. How much heat should you use in the winter? How much air conditioning should you use in the summer?

Two Studies of Temperature and Workplace Productivity

Studies of workplace productivity and temperature have been conducted at Cornell University, in the U.S., and at the Helsinki University of Technology, in Finland. The Cornell study was published in 2004, and the Halsinki study was published in 2006.

Although Cornell University itself is located in New York State, the study took place in Orlando, Florida, which has a very warm climate. The Helsinki study was conducted in Finland, which has a cold climate. Both studies found that temperature affects productivity.

The Optimal Temperature

In the Cornell study, employees typed 100 percent of the time with a 10% error rate at 25°C. When the temperature was lowered to 20°C, employees typed only 54% of the time, and they had a 25% error rate. That amounted to a 150% decrease in productivity.

The Finnish study also found that temperature affects productivity. However, the optimal temperature for Finnish workers was between 21°C and 22°C.
Factors to Consider

Obviously, temperature matters. However, the difference in the optimal temperatures in the Cornell and Helsinki studies indicates that the best temperature isn’t the same in every workplace. No doubt, it’s also slightly different for each employee.

What affects the optimal workplace temperature?

• The Local Climate
Employees will be most comfortable in an environment with a moderate temperature: not too hot and not too cold. People in warmer climates will have adapted to warmer temperatures. People in colder climates will prefer a lower setting on the thermostat.
• The Season
Like the local climate, the season will effect what feels moderate and comfortable. Do not keep the office at the same temperature all year. The indoor temperature should moderate the seasons, not erase them.
• Clothing
Part of the reason that the indoor temperature should change according to the seasons is because employees will dress differently depending on the outdoor temperature.
• The Cost of Energy
Adjusting the temperature to reflect the seasons and how warmly employees are dressed means that the office will be a bit cooler in the winter and a bit warmer in the summer. The fact that this saves energy is a bonus.

However, there will always be people who feel most comfortable at a different temperature, and the temperature will not be consistent at every workstation.

Fine-tune the Temperature with Electric Heaters

With an optimal temperature for employee productivity that falls over such a large range, from 21°C to 25°C, and with heating and cooling systems that may not create a perfectly consistent environment throughout the workplace, it’s obvious that some flexibility is needed in setting the temperature for a working environment.

An electric heater can adjust the temperature in a workspace to exactly the right level for the circumstances and for the individual employee. Electric heaters are an important part of any strategy to create a workplace that’s the right temperature.

2 Responses

  1. Interesting that you used a press release from “Economy Radiators”.

    The products these people sell are hideously overpriced for what they are. Their heaters will not provide any more heat (per kWH) than any other electric heater.

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