Creating the optimum working conditions for your employees is at the top of every business owner’s list of priorities. There are several factors which influence the productivity and success of your work environment. These include instituting a supportive work culture and ensuring access to new opportunities, training and equipment to better complete tasks.
The temperature of a work environment can be more influential than you think. Ensuring an optimum temperature is achieved throughout your office will make a real difference on your employees’ productivity and wellbeing. However, this temperature is up for debate.
Read on to discover the truth behind optimum working temperatures in the UK, the steps you can take to achieve this, and the benefits that go hand-in-hand with a comfortable office environment.
The effects of incorrectly heated work spaces
Achieving a perfect temperature in the office isn’t easy. In fact, 8 out of 10 office workers say that they’ve had issues with the temperature of their workplace. When it comes to the right temperature, striking a balance is key.
If the work environment is too hot or too cold it will create problems. Incorrectly heated work spaces have been proven to waste around 10 to 30 minutes of every working day in the average UK office. This costs the economy some £13 billion annually.
In the US there have been 24 different studies delving into the correlation between temperature and productivity. These studies found that heat not only decreased employee productivity but also impaired decision making and heightened tempers, making for a fractious, unfocused work environment.
It’s impossible to satisfy everyone with your choice of thermostat temperature. Individual optimal working temperature is dictated by a number of factors, including: season, clothing, gender, humidity and age. On the other hand, working to the recommended temperature will ensure the vast majority of your employees are comfortable, leaving you with a healthy and more productive workforce.
The best temperature for UK workplaces
Whilst recent reports revealed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg likes to keep temperatures in his offices low (at 15°C to be exact), many have spoken out against dropping working temperatures. Celia Donne, global operations director at Regus, had this to say during a BBC Radio 4 interview:
“Our communal areas are between 19 and 23 degrees. If I set the office temperature at 15 degrees in our 1,500 locations, I think a million people would walk out!”
Celia is just one of many corporate figures who have disagreed with Facebook’s office temperature policy. Financial Times management columnist Lucy Kellaway even commented that Facebook purposefully makes their employees uncomfortable so they have no other option but to complete their work.
UK law does not define a minimum or maximum working temperature. The Health and Safety Executive promotes a temperature of at least 16°C, but the optimum working temperature for “typical office work” is considered to be 22°C.
Achieving the best conditions for your workers
Getting your office space to the desired 22°C is easier than you think. The installation of office air conditioning can provide all the technology you need to maximise thermal control throughout your workplace.
If you already have an air conditioning system in place but are worried it is not as efficient, compliant or beneficial as it should be, then requesting a work environment health check from our team is a great step in the right direction.
Our health surveys are free and will help you achieve not just the most comfortable working environment but provide the right conditions for happy, healthy workers. Our surveys also ensure lower energy costs, full legal compliance and many more benefits.