Have you ever felt unproductive at work because the temperature is just too hot for you to concentrate? Ever wrapped up in extra layers to keep warm whilst your colleagues complain they’re too hot? Then it sounds like you’ve been at the centre of the office temperature debate.
As workers across the country make their way through the cold winter months, Workthere conducted new research into the age-old office temperature debate*. According to its findings, 89 per cent of UK office workers lose productivity if the temperature isn’t quite right, with employees claiming cold office temperatures cause them to be the most unproductive (46 per cent). Overall, just 16 per cent of workers said they were satisfied with the temperature of their office.
What’s more, only eight per cent of those based in co-working and shared workspace, and 10 per cent of staff in leased workspace, believe that their office is always the right temperature, while just three per cent of respondents revealed they have a separate space to work in if they’re too hot or cold.
It seems that keeping warm is the biggest challenge for British office workers with 47 per cent admitting to wearing additional layers at their desk and 37 per cent often making themselves a hot drink to fight the office chill.
A surprising 17 per cent of respondents even admitted to bringing in a personal heater to warm up – a worrying statistic for UK offices. It costs £3.43 on average to run a 3 kilowatt heater for eight hours², and with almost one in five workers taking one to the office to keep warm, this means UK offices, of which there are roughly 5.7 million3 across the UK, could be spending up to £7.3 million per day on additional electric costs; costs that could be easily avoided with a suitable office temperature.
What have office workers done to maintain their ideal temperature?
1. Worn extra layers to keep warm (47 per cent)
2. Made or bought a hot drink to warm up (37 per cent)
3. Left the office to warm up or cool down (26 per cent)
4. Made or bought a cold drink to cool down (24 per cent)
5= Brought in a personal heater to warm up (17 per cent)
5= Brought in a personal fan to cool down (17 per cent)
Interestingly the research shows that it was the younger respondents who were most likely to be unhappy with their office temperature; the older the age group, the more satisfied they became with it.
With such a high percentage of employees dissatisfied with the temperature of their working space, you may question why the staff don’t do something about it. Well, it’s not as easy as it seems. Nearly half (42 per cent) of these surveyed revealed that their air con and/or heating units are operated by someone else, while seven per cent even admitted that they were unsure of what temperature control they have in their office.
It is therefore very difficult for individuals to control the temperature in offices themselves, leading employees to take matters into their own hands to help maintain their perfect temperature whilst at work.
Cal Lee, head of Workthere, comments,
The importance of the office temperature cannot be underestimated, as maintaining an ideal temperature whilst at work helps workers to be happier and more productive. Studies have found the ideal temperature for Brits is between 21-22°C, so this should act as a benchmark for those in control of the office temperature.
Of course, not everybody is the same, so it’s also recommended to provide a breakout space that employees can go to, to work, to cool down or warm up. Flexible and serviced offices are often popular as they offer smaller private offices, most with their own temperature control in each office, allowing smaller teams to control the temperature of their specific suite rather than being at the mercy of the whole building.
*Research conducted by Workthere in Autumn 2018