Affects of Heat on Productivity and How Air Conditioning Can Help
The sun is shining, it’s a glorious day, there’s not a cloud in the sky…just perfect for a day lounging by the pool or relaxing on the beach…
Unfortunately, as we all know only too well, glorious weather doesn’t always coincide with our days off work! And the reality of working in a stifling hot office is a far cry from lazing outside under a parasol, enjoying an ice cold drink!
The issue of a hot working environment can be even more acute if you’re one of a growing number of people who work from home. Nowadays many modern office blocks are kitted out with state-of-the-art air conditioning, which can help make working in a hot climate more tolerable and manageable. But what can you do if your office is in your home and your little desk fan just isn’t cutting the mustard? And why does it matter?
Why It’s Not Just Your Health That Can Suffer
The effects of too high a temperature on our bodies and our health is a subject which has been well-documented, and we all know the importance of maintaining a healthy body temperature. But did you know that excessive heat can also have a negative impact on our productivity while at work?
A 2014 study by researchers at the Helsinki University of Technology looked at the productivity of a group of office employees working within a range of temperatures and found that performance notably decreased where the air temperature of the working environment was above 23-24 degrees Celsius.
This isn’t so surprising if we think about how we feel in general if we get too hot – often we feel fatigued, irritable and find it hard to sustain our concentration levels. Poor indoor air quality has also been linked to ‘sick-building syndrome‘ and heat stress, both of which can affect our ability to carry out our jobs to the best of our abilities.
Hot Offices = Unhappy Employees!
A stuffy, hot office can also have a detrimental effect on our satisfaction levels.
Researchers from Cornell University, studying employees in an insurance office, discovered that 29% of workers spent between 10-30 minutes each day not working due to an uncomfortable office temperature.
This demonstrates again that many man hours can be lost over time when the temperature of a workplace is uncomfortably high, not to mention the dissatisfaction that can set in if employees feel their comfort levels are being compromised.
So if you regularly work from home it’s definitely in your best interests, both health and productivity wise, to find a solution that allows you to regulate the temperature of your working environment. And doubly important if you also have any employees whose welfare you’re responsible for.
So What’s The Optimum Temperature For An Office?
So, we’ve established that too high a temperature is never a good thing, but equally you probably don’t want your office to be too cold either!
A definitive answer on the optimum office temperature is pretty elusive. What’s fine for one person can of course be too hot or too cold for another.
However, the Helsinki University study did find that productivity rates were at their highest when the climate in the office was around 22 degrees Celsius.
Likewise, in its handbook, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the US suggests a temperature within the range of 20-24 degrees Celsius, and with humidity levels not below 20% nor above 60%.
How A Modest Initial Outlay Can Save You Money In The Long-Term
If you work from home by yourself and don’t have any other employees to consider, it might be tempting to save money on air conditioning costs and force yourself to battle on through extreme temperatures. Often we make sacrifices when it comes to ourselves, and especially if we’re a fledgling business trying to keep its overheads to an absolute minimum.
But this can actually be a false economy. By potentially jeopardising our health through sustained exposure to high temperatures, we might increase our likelihood of being off work sick, or by not working at full capacity when we are there.
Making an initial outlay on some air conditioning for your office can, in the long term, save you money on hours lost to illness or poor productivity.
There are many great air conditioning units on the market, so do some research to find which option is going to the best for you. Key things to consider are the size of room you need to cool, and whether you need something which is portable that you can then move to other areas of your home when your working day is done. Our complete guide to choosing the best portable air conditioner is a good place to start and we have some great recommendations for units that cover most room sizes.
You might even want to consider a unit which also has the ability to heat a room for when the weather turns chillier – a 2-in-1 option which helps you maintain an ideal temperature in all seasons.
We spend so much of our lives working that it really is so important to make sure that the time spent there is as pleasant as it can be! And then after a productive week’s work you can relax and enjoy some well-deserved down-time – hopefully lounging out enjoying that ice cold drink!