October 17, 2014
A workplace’s design may divide occupiers’ opinions, but is not usually a source of conflict. However, when it comes to the temperature of the office, tempers can flare. Legal guidance is sketchy, as health and safety law demands that workplaces must not fall below 16C, but doesn’t set an optimum temperature. This leaves the ‘ambient’ office temperature very much open to interpretation. Earlier this year, researchers from Lancaster University advised that the average office temperature of 22 degrees C was way too high, and that simply turning down the thermostat and asking occupants to don another layer could do much to address global warming. Now over 70 per cent of workers have reported their ability to work is compromised by the temperature in the office. In a survey conducted by Business Environment, two thirds admitted to getting annoyed when a colleague changed the air con to a setting they were not comfortable with and this annoyance can escalate, with 58 per cent admitting that rows have broken out over the office temperature.
David Saul, managing director of Business Environment said: “With all the efforts organisations make to ensure that their employees have a pleasant work environment, from free breakfasts to bean-bag break-out areas, many overlook the management of one of the more basic elements, temperature.”
86 per cent of those surveyed admitted that they were unhappy with the office temperature at certain points in the year, with nearly a quarter (24.8 per cent) saying that they were never happy with the temperature.
Added Saul: “Finding a balance for an office full of individuals that have very different preferences in terms of an ideal temperature is obviously very difficult. However, the results of our survey do highlight how important it is to try and manage the process if you are to get an office working harmoniously and effectively.”