The effect of temperature on office productivity

Most of us casually accept that there is nothing that can be done about the weather, and this is predominantly true.  Whereas we cannot affect the weather itself, we can control how it affects us.  In fact, human beings are the only species on the planet that can change their environment to better suit their needs and this of course applies to our working conditions.

Warm does not always mean happy

The majority of people enjoy the warm summer months, but if you have to work in an office during these months then the environment can be very uncomfortable.  It is estimated that 2% of all office hours are lost each year due to discomfort caused by temperature with 80% of office workers complaining about the temperature in their offices.  

Germs love the warmth

If an office is excessively warm in winter to combat the cold, the sudden changes in temperature can provide a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.  As such, working in an environment with a fluctuating temperature or an extreme temperature will promote illness and absenteeism costs businesses billions collectively each year.

Humidity is just as bad

Humidity levels also have a very real effect on people’s health.  A low humidity, around 20% or below, can lead to dry skin, the mucus in the nose, eyes, and mouth which can cause bacteria to spread more easily as the mucus membranes in the nose are there to catch contaminants, dry skin can break allowing bacteria into the body whilst rubbing the eyes applies whatever is on the hands to the eyes, where it is easily absorbed into the body.  All of these factors are exasperated by the naturally high volume of bacteria found in an office.

High humidity on the other hand can promote the growth of fungi and mould, potentially on the body as well as the building.  Fungi and mould both produce spores to which people can be severely allergic and in extreme circumstances cause anaphylactic shock, as well as causing general respiratory problems. 

Managing the risks

The best course of action is to ensure that an office building is fitted with a serviced and functioning climate control system.  It is also important to ensure that the system and filters are cleaned regularly as they can be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria that will then enter the airflow and put people at risk.  Another important consideration is that glass can focus heat from the sun, so for offices suffering from excessive heat, it is advised that the company contact a commercial window tinting company to install an appropriate strength of filtering tint to provide the best protection. 

With these measures in place, it should provide a more comfortable working environment for office workers and consequently a more productive office.

The effect of temperature on office productivity

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