December 7, 2017
Chilly offices mean that over half (57 percent) of office workers say they’d be more productive working from home when the weather gets colder. Their main reason is that too many workplaces (50 percent) do not handle weather complaints effectively. According to Office Genie’s survey of 1,105 British office workers, only 6 percent of employers encourage staff to work remotely in the colder weather. Bosses are also reluctant to let employees work flexibly instead of freeze, with only 16 percent of companies adopting flexible working patterns in the colder months. Even simple provisions such as supplying additional heaters are not in place in 70 percent of offices – failing to comply to the government’s Health and Safety Executive’s advice. Of the 1,105 office workers we surveyed, 50% said complaints about office temperatures aren’t dealt with effectively by management. And while HSE guidelines state workplaces shouldn’t dip below 16°C but when we asked workers their ideal office temperature, 20°C was the resounding answer.
To combat the cold, the following advice is given by the HSE:
- Provide adequate additional heating (portable heaters for example)
- Provide breaks in which employees can have hot drinks
- Prevent exposure to cold through:
- Designing processes to limit exposure
- Reducing draughts
- Insulating floors or providing suitable footwear if employees have to stand for long periods
- Providing suitable clothing for cold environments
- Adapt working patterns which allow employees to minimise exposure, things such as flexible working or job rotation
For more information on the above guidelines and research, please see Office Genie’s guide to minimum workplace temperatures.