Many Americans in today’s workforce spend the majority of their days in an office environment. If you’re a seasoned office worker, you’ve likely run into the age-old problem each summer of hot outdoor temperatures and freezing cold office temperatures. As an HVAC company, we were curious how offices find the “ideal” office temperature to satisfy a group of employees who likely have diverse preferences. So, what is the ideal office temperature for employee comfort and productivity? Keep reading to find out!
An “ideal” office temperature is hard to pinpoint. It is pretty much guaranteed that no singular temperature will work for everyone. Some experts suggest keeping temps between 71ºF and 73ºF, while a study done by Cornell showed workers were more productive in environments with temperatures between 72ºF and 79ºF.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) does not provide any requirements or regulations regarding air temperature but recommends clean, well-circulated air with 20% to 60% humidity levels.
Studies also suggest that productivity of office workers can seriously struggle if the temperature is making them uncomfortable. The same Cornell study found that typing errors decreased by about 44% when the temperature of the office was raised from 68ºF to 77º.
Cause & Effect
Despite what the studies suggest, there are a variety of factors that can impact how workers “feel” the temperature. During the summer, air-conditioned offices often tend to seem particularly chilly, even when the temperature is set at the same degree year round. This is most likely due to how people adapt to different temperatures during the different seasons.
Humidity can also have a significant impact on how an office temperature feels. If the environment is too humid, it can make an office space seem a lot warmer and very uncomfortable. An overly humid office is likely caused by an improperly sized air conditioner. If the air conditioner is too big for the space, it won’t run long enough to remove the humidity from the air.
Tips for Tricky Work Environments
If finding an ideal office temperature seems to be an impossible task, take a look at these possible solutions that can help ease discomfort.
- Rearrange the furniture
The current arrangement of office furniture could be less than ideal for air flow. Make sure that registers and vents aren’t being blocked.
- Install blinds, window dressing or film
Blinds can prevent the sun from warming a room too quickly, and thus prevent the air conditioner from kicking into overdrive.
- Change the light bulbs
Install energy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures. LED lighting produces much less heat.
- Schedule regular maintenance
Experiencing problems regulating your office thermostat? It may be time for some HVAC maintenance to make sure your office A/C is running efficiently and effectively for the warm summer months.
Comfortable air quality and temperature is a crucial component of a thriving and productive office environment. Give Columbia Heating & Cooling a call for all your home and office HVAC needs and find out how we can help!