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The Ideal Office Working Temperature

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What Impact Does Working Temperature Have on Your Office?

A new study suggests that 2% of working hours are lost due to poor temperatures. If the figures are representative, this could be costing the UK economy £13 billion every year.

In the survey of over 2,000 office workers, 29% said they took between 10 and 30 minutes out of work each day because of the temperature.

A further 6% reported significant productivity losses. Less than a quarter agreed that their office remained at an ideal temperature all year round.

It also came to light that working temperature appears to affect more women than men. 70% of women wear additional clothing in the office to keep warm, compared to 44% of men. Another common strategy, adopted by 50% of women and 28% of men, is to make extra hot drinks throughout the day.

Maintaining the Right Working Temperature in Your Office

While there’s nothing wrong with wearing extra layers in cold weather, your office needs to remain at an adequate temperature. The legal minimum is 16°C but the most important thing is that employees are comfortable enough to do their job and stay productive.

It isn’t just in winter that staff can become uncomfortable. In the summer, it’s often difficult to work in offices with poor air conditioning systems or no air conditioning at all.

Excessively warm workplaces are known to cause loss of concentration, headaches and even health problems. There’s no maximum working temperature but employers have to make sure it’s reasonable. We recommend that most offices are kept at 20°C to 23°C.

 

Replacing Inadequate Heating and Cooling Systems

If you’re an employee who’s suffering from poor office temperatures, you should be able to raise the issue with someone who can take action. And if you own a business and know your staff are uncomfortable, it’s important that you review your heating and cooling systems to see what can be done.

Providing a reasonable working temperature throughout the year shouldn’t be an additional expense. Investing in a modern heating and cooling system will give not only give you the right temperature but considerably lower running costs as well.

If your system needs replacing, you’ll quickly recoup the initial capital costs through long term efficiency savings. And if your business is losing productivity because of the temperature, the true payback period will be even quicker.

Depending on the system you install, you might also be eligible for tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme.


Further Reading

The working temperature survey was carried out by OnePoll and commissioned by air conditioning, heating and cooling hire specialists Andrews Sykes.
For full results and a regional breakdown from the survey check out this article and download the PDF.