The optimal office temperature is a debate we’re all familiar with. Often settled by a majority vote and a final decision that results in packing that extra jumper (just in case) or avoiding the risk of heater-stroke shedding layers in Winter. A battle that’s ongoing and feels never-ending can actually make or break your workday.
We’ve all been there, wondering why we can’t focus, why we are so restless, or the more ominous question, “Is it hot in here or do I have… Covid?”.
So, what is the desired degree of Celsius in the workplace? (According to science)
In Australia, it is standard practice for office spaces to be cooled (or warmed) to 22 degrees Celsius. Many offices set this number as the uniform temperature in the commercial agreement, with studies in 2021 indicating 22-24 degrees Celsius produces the best climate for health and productivity in the workforce.
However, we are all wonderfully unique and not everybody’s temperature threshold is the same. Unsurprisingly, studies have shown the variation in ideal temperatures can depend largely on differences in physical and bodily functions, which continues the debate evermore. Scientifically, those with a bigger body-fat-to-weight ratio prefer a cooler work climate, whilst people with typically slower metabolic rates prefer slightly warmer temperatures.
So, what are some strategies to ease an age-old conflict in your office?
- Relax the dress code: Often, there is no reason why employers have to insist on workers wearing ties, tights, or jackets for work and in summer, this can be a contributing factor to overheating employees.
- Look at re-designing the work area: Often, simply moving people away from windows or reducing heat gain by installing reflective film or blinds to windows can be a very effective way of keeping a workplace cooler.
- Turn to fans and natural ventilation: Open the windows; if there aren’t any, provide your teams with fans to use at their desks.
- Turn to flexible work arrangements so your employees can avoid overcrowded trains and buses, which can result in flustered and overheated employees arriving at work.
Ultimately, there will always be a temperature divide. So just like any other day in a shared environment, it calls for compromise and remembers, no matter how heated things might get when engaging in conflict with colleagues, always stay cool.