Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by admin
How Is The Office Temperature For You?
With the temperature having already been nudging 20 degrees in parts of the country as the seasons change it won’t be long before many office workers will complain of sweltering as they endeavour to go about their day to day tasks.
As many of us can no doubt relate to, the office temperature never seems right with one person’s ‘just right’ being another’s ‘freezing cold’. It is therefore no surprise to learn that a recent survey conducted by Andrews Sykes found that just 24% of office workers are happy with the temperature in their office environment.
With three quarters of office staff shivering or sweltering whilst they go about their daily tasks, it inevitably impacts on productivity wasting 2% of office hours, apparently costing the UK economy more than a staggering £13bn annually. This is because apparently almost a third of workers say that they take between 10 minutes and half an hour away from their desk each day due to being too hot or cold too.
We learn too that women are more likely to feel uncomfortable with the temperature in the office than men. It appears that many of us suffer in silence with only 27% of women and 17% of men admitting they have complained to management about the temperature in the workspace.
So what’s the answer to address the problem?
The UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advises that the minimum temperature in the workplace for office workers spending long periods at their desk should be 16 degrees. Termed ‘thermal comfort’ as detailed in British Standard BS EN ISO 7730, the HSE define this as ‘that condition of mind which expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment’. In other words, whether they feel too hot, too cold, or just right.
The six basic factors any employer needs to consider which affect thermal comfort are: air temperature, radiant temperature, air velocity, humidity which are all classified as environmental factors. These need to be considered alongside personal factors, namely clothing insulation and metabolic heat.
Realistically the HSE claim that the target for ‘reasonable comfort’ in the office should be 80% of employees. Office fans and heaters are certainly one solution that will help to keep air moving but finding the right temperature to boost employees’ productivity is one of those ongoing challenges that we may never fully resolve.