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Does Office Temperature Affect Productivity?

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Interiors

Tagged: , ,

Published on December 21, 2009 with No Comments

As winter sets in across the country and companies turn up the heat, they may need to readjust the thermostat to keep their workers productive. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, when asked if the temperature at work affected their ability to get work done, more than one in five (22%) workers said that a “too hot” work environment made it difficult to concentrate. Eleven percent of workers said the same about a “too cold” work place.

Overall, more than a quarter (27%) of workers describe the temperature at their work place as “too hot.” On the flip side, 19% reported that the temperature was “too cold,” while 54% said it was “just right.”

Differing opinions on what is too hot or too cold for the office can sometimes cause conflict among cubicle mates. In fact, 10% of workers said they have fought with a co-worker over the office temperature.

Worker disputes over temperature aren’t the only thing affecting work place climate; the economy is also playing a part. In an effort to save money, nearly one in five (19%) workers feel that their company has turned down the office temperature this year.

“There are many factors that can affect work place productivity,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Everything from morale, burnout, and as our survey finds, temperature, can have an impact on workers’ ability to get their work done. If temperature is a concern, workers and employers can easily work together to find common ground so productivity does not suffer.”

Office feeling too hot or too cold? Haefner offers the following tips to maintain productivity regardless of temperature:

  • Thermostat talk: Does one of your co-workers like the office steaming while you prefer a chillier work space? Instead of secretly changing the thermostat behind each other’s backs, send around an e-mail to your floor or directly discuss a compromise on temperature with your colleagues.
  • Layer it on (or off): The best way to prepare for a fluctuating office climate is to layer your clothing. That way, you can remove or add items so that you are comfortable and able to do your best work.
  • Make it work: If you know that a particular time of day or space in the office is too warm or too cold for you to work productively, be proactive by finding an alternative. Talk to your manager about coming in earlier, moving to a conference room for a portion of the day or telecommuting.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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