How We Beat the Heat and Maintained Productivity

Recently, we had and unusual heat wave where outside temperatures reached the 100s.  During that weekend, our building’s air-conditioning went kaput. The following Monday our office’s temperature rose to a balmy 85 degrees. Employees attempted to remain productive and focused. Layered jackets and sweaters came off, desk fans came out and ice water was a plenty. Even so, it felt like we were melting in our chairs. I applaud our management team for allowing people to work remotely in an air-conditioned space. Thankfully, the A/C was repaired and office temperatures returned to normal the next day.

Coincidentally, about the same time our office was a virtual sauna, Hubspot published a fun and informative article about office temperatures ( Too Hot? Too Cold? 16 Hacks for dealing with Unruly Office Temperatures). The timing could not have been better for a few laughs from our team.

All kidding aside, office temperatures do play an important role in maintaining productivity and keeping morale positive.


Optimal Office Temperature

Office temperatures can actually have a significant impact on people’s productivity and ability to perform. There have been numerous studies conducted to determine the optimal office temperature for peak productivity across your workforce. In general, most agree that office temperatures should be held constant in the range of 69-74°F.

However, a well-respected study by Cornell University returned a result of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) as the optimal temperature. That study revealed that employees committed 44% more errors when office temperatures were low than when warm. That might sound a bit warmer than most of us are accustomed. However, there are multiple factors to consider when determining the best temperature for everyone. The seasons, climate, altitude and humidity all effect how the body perceives environmental temperatures. Naturally, the amount of clothing and type of clothing will also be a factor for comfort.

Maintain a Constant Temperature

Maintaining constant thermal conditions in the office is important. Even minor deviations from comfort may be stressful and affect performance and safety. When the office temperatures are consistent everyone knows what to expect and can dress according to their personal comfort.  In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher, keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors.