The argument takes place in offices up and down the UK every year. While some of us rush to fling open windows, others cling to radiators – the office temperature debate is all too familiar.
Andrews-Sykes recently questioned 2,000 UK office workers about their workplace climate and found that temperature issues can have a huge impact on staff productivity. The study revealed that almost 80% of respondents complained about the discomfort of their office environment. In the summer, 27% of workers feel that their offices are too hot. While in the winter, 26% of office workers feel that their offices are too cold.
In addition to upsetting staff, being too hot or cold can be disruptive to the workplace. On average, respondents admitted to wasting more than 7.5 minutes a day due to poor office conditions, resulting in more than 28 wasted working hours per year.
Over a third of workers admitted to spending more than 10 minutes a day trying to warm up or keep cool, 6% of whom currently miss more than 30 minutes of work per day.
Women averagely spent 33% more time than men (approximately 9 minutes, compared to 6.5) trying to acclimate themselves to inadequate office conditions. In the UK, this adds up to £1,670 wasted annually per individual, which equates to a massive £15bn wasted over the course of the working year.*
Statistical trends highlighted that when offices were too cold, 70% of women wore additional clothing in order to keep away the chills and 50% of them made excessive cups of tea to keep warm. Men also followed suit, with extra jumpers and hot drinks but figures were slightly lower, 44% and 28% respectively.
10% of women resorted to bringing in a hot water bottle to work, while about 3% of workers admitted to bringing in their own portable heaters. Plugging in their own heat sources can be problematic as it deregulates the offices’ original climate controls and can damage computer equipment which require cooling in modern workplaces.
Other employees have resorted to drastic measures in order to beat the heat or keep cool. Reports from office managers claim employees have hidden paddling pools beneath their desk to keep their feet cool and even engineered their own cardboard ventilation system to direct cool air to other parts of the office!
Research has also shown how temperature can not only effect the happiness of your workforce, but also their productivity. Ensuring your office environment is suitable can be achieved by making sure that ventilation and air conditioning units are not blocked or ventilation flows are not significantly altered by partitioning or room dividers.
*Assuming an average wage of £26,500; 29.84m UK employees and a 228 day working year.