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Room Temperature Vs. Productivity

March 10, 2015

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

You know the feeling of dread when you wake up in the cold, dark, winter mornings? That reluctance to emerge from your warm, comfortable covers only to hit the frigid air and anything else in your way as you stumble across the dark room half asleep because your body is taking any and all energy to warm up your core…

This scenario is similar to how our bodies function in the well-lit, but cold atmosphere of an office. The lights naturally help us wake up, but if your workspace is too cold to your liking, it is possible that you still feel tired or distracted. This is because your body is using its energy supply to try to keep you warm.

The problem – You now have less energy to be productive, which could cost a business.

Some businesses believe the average room temperature should be 68 degrees, but this is not quite accurate.

Cornell University conducted a study at the Insurance Office of America headquarters in Florida, in which they altered the thermostat from 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 68 degrees. The employees with the temperature decrease produced 44 percent more errors and were less than half as productive as the employees with their thermostats remaining at 77 degrees. According to the results, the lower temperatures were not just colder, but distracted the employees from their work. This simple temperature change cost the employers 20 percent more per hour, per employee.

Though men and women differ when it comes to agreeing on a comfortable temperature, further research has shown an optimal office temperature is between 70 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. This range produces the highest productivity in the workplace, especially for employees who sit at their desks constantly without much activity to circulate the blood throughout.

Depending on the size of your office – the number of bodies and amount of movement- experiment with different temperatures in the 70’s degree Fahrenheit range. You won’t be able to please everyone, but if the majority of the office is content, think about the amount of increased productivity, and, in turn, the decrease of costs. Not to mention, those who still run cold in this optimal temperature can be easily satisfied with a light jacket or blanket.