Felling the chill? - Business Works
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Felling the chill?

by Workthere Maintaining an ideal temperature whilst at work helps workers to be happier and more productive, says Cal Lee, head of Workthere. Studies have found that the ideal temperature for Brits is between 21-22°C, so this should act as a benchmark for those in control of the office temperature.

Regarding the temperature at work, in the UK the government simply states that working environments must have a 'reasonable' temperature, with guidance stating that it shouldn't get below 16°C - about 5°C below what people find comfortable (or 13°C if the work involves physical activity).

If you work in an office with more than a handful of people in it, chances are you'll have encountered the classic office temperature debate at least once. For some it's always too hot, while for others the air con might feel like an ice blast, so how do you keep everyone happy?

According to the research, 89% of UK office workers lose productivity if the temperature isn't quite right, with employees claiming cold office temperatures cause them to be the most unproductive (46%). Overall, just 16% of workers said they were satisfied with the temperature of their office.

What's more, only 8% of those based in coworking and shared workspace, and 10% of staff in leased workspace, believe that their office is always the right temperature, while just 3% of respondents revealed they have a separate space to work in if they're too hot or cold.

Of course, not everybody is the same, so it's also recommended to provide a breakout space that employees can go to to work, to cool down or warm up. Flexible and serviced offices are often popular as they offer smaller private offices, most with their own temperature control in each office, allowing smaller teams to control the temperature of their specific suite rather than being at the mercy of the whole building.

It seems that keeping warm is the biggest challenge for British office workers with 47% admitting to wearing additional layers at their desk and 37% often making themselves a hot drink to fight the office chill.

A surprising 17% of respondents even admitted to bringing in a personal heater to warm up - a worrying statistic as it costs £3.43 on average to run a 3 kilowatt heater for eight hours. With almost one in five workers taking one to the office to keep warm, this means UK offices, of which there are roughly 5.7 million across the UK, could be spending up to £7.3 million per day on additional electric costs; costs that could be easily avoided with a suitable office temperature.

Interestingly the research shows that it was the younger respondents who were most likely to be unhappy with their office temperature. Those under the age of 45 were, on average, 12% 'satisfied' that their office was always the right temperature. This compares with 20% over 55s and 35% of those over 65.

What have office workers done to maintain their ideal temperature?

  • Worn extra layers to keep warm (47%)
  • Made or bought a hot drink to warm up (37%)
  • Left the office to warm up or cool down (26%)
  • Made or bought a cold drink to cool down (24%)
  • Brought in a personal heater to warm up (17%)
  • Brought in a personal fan to cool down (17%)

With such a high percentage of employees dissatisfied with the temperature of their working space, you may question why the staff don't do something about it.

Well, it's not as easy as it seems. Nearly half (42%) of these surveyed revealed that their air con and / or heating units are operated by someone else, while 7% even admitted that they were unsure of what temperature control they have in their office.

It is therefore very difficult for individuals to control the temperature in offices themselves, leading employees to take matters into their own hands to help maintain their perfect temperature whilst at work.

The importance of the office temperature cannot be underestimated, as maintaining an ideal temperature whilst at work helps workers to be happier and more productive.

To learn more about the office temperature debate, and help on how to combat it, visit: the Workthere website

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