In the last few months we have been well and truly in the midst of winter, which means that many companies may be thinking about adjusting their heating to keep their workers productive. However, heat requires careful thought!
A recent survey showed that 27% of workers described the temperature at their place of work as “too hot” whilst 19% said it was “too cold”! If you’ve ever worked in an office, or any building where a large number of people have to gather, you will surely have heard many complaints about temperature! Everybody knows that one guy or girl who one day is the picture of productivity, and the next day they spend the whole day finding an electric fan, plugging in an electric fan, visiting the water dispenser every five minutes, and taking extended breaks to cool down! Sounds funny but this constant climate conflict is going to become a real annoyance when it starts impacting on workplace productivity.
Hot vs Cold
When your brain is concentrating on monitoring your body temperature, it is easy to see why you aren’t concentrating as much on your work. As study completed in 2006 by The University of Helsinki, found that the ideal temperature at which to generate more employee productivity, is between 21°C and 23 °C. A previous study to this, completed in 2004 by Cornell University, found that when temperature was increased from 20°C to 25° C then typing errors decreased by 44% and output rose by 150%. The chief researcher for this study stated that: “better environmental control systems in the workplace will maximise worker comfort and thereby productivity”, and he felt that better temperature management could save employers up to $2 an hour per worker!
Penny Wise, but Pound Foolish
Most businesses obviously want to keep air conditioning costs down in order to meet operational budget restrictions. But, sometimes the small savings you might make in this area, may mean bigger losses in other areas. For example, employers who keep the heating low in winter and higher in summer can actually cost themselves more in reduced staff productivity (as discussed above).
The Trade Union Congress has warned that working in extremes of temperature can cause the following health issues in employees: heat exhaustion, dehydration, cold exposure, frost bite, hypothermia, and even secondary Reynaud’s disease. Therefore, temperatures in the workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992, and these place a legal obligation on employers to provide a reasonable temperature in the workplace – however, “reasonable” is not defined precisely.
One solution to the issue of temperature fluctuations in the workplace is the use of Strip curtains. Strip door curtains have been shown to protect workers from exposed areas, and therefore the outside elements. Warehouses and Depots will surely benefit from the use of Strip curtains as they allow free flow of both workers and vehicles, but keep the weather outside. Plastic door curtains offer not just a way to save energy but also a way to optimise the conditions in your workplace to make them ideal for employees. And that means increased productivity, and never hearing an “it’s too hot” or “it’s too cold” complaint again!