FRIDAY FUNNY: The Too Hot, Too Cold Debate Goes Global

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Posted by Heidi Schwartz

While office temperatures have been a sore spot with U.S. facility managers for years, it seems U.K. employees share the same workplace woe. Less than a quarter of office workers find the temperature in their office comfortable, a survey indicates, with more than a third suggesting they take at least 10 minutes out of work each day due to temperature alone.

One Poll surveyed 2,000 office workers between 18 and 60 on behalf of heating and ventilation specialists Andrews Sykes. The aim was to gauge how temperature affects people’s workday. The results point to a general sense of dissatisfaction around temperature. Only 24% agreed that their office was an ideal temperature for working throughout the year.

The ramifications of this are larger than may be expected: 29% of people surveyed estimate they spend between 10 and 30 minutes each workday not working due to an uncomfortable office temperature. A surprising 6% believe they spend more than half an hour each day not working well for this reason. 

This means that an office of 100 people will have at least eight hours wasted each day, due to the temperature alone. The full figure could be more like 18 hours—the equivalent of more than 2% of staff members never turning up to work.

Helen Pedder, head of HR for ClearSky HR, said: “Whether temperatures soar or plummet, unbearable office conditions can have a serious impact on employee health and well being. Unfortunately the law is left open to misinterpretation by simply stating that employers must provide a ‘reasonable’ workplace temperature.

“Until health and safety guidance provides clear and coherent requirements, there are various steps that an employer can take to prevent a dip in productivity and performance. Relaxing dress code requirements where appropriate and providing heating and/or cooling devices are effective methods that help to regulate thermal comfort.”

East Anglia was found to be the region where employees were most likely to complain about the temperature, with 46% of them complaining to colleagues and 32% having complained to management.

The South West admitted to complaining to colleagues less than the rest of the UK, with 34% facing up to grumbling. Residents of Northern Ireland were found to be least likely to complain to management, with only 12% having done so.

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