Office Temperature Debate – Avoid the Drama

Office Temperature Debate – Avoid the Drama

The seasons are changing in Canada and the conversations about the weather are at an all-time high. You will hear some people say how they love the crisp air in the morning and others how they miss the warm summer sun. After all, Canadians are world renowned for engaging in small talk about the weather.
So, what about the micro-climate that is your workplace? Have you ever heard a co-worker complain about the temperature in your office? Too hot or too cold?
If the answer is yes, you may have seen this conversation have a snowball effect.  All of a sudden, every person in the office is in on the conversation.  With one saying it’s too hot, another saying it’s just right and another arguing that it’s already too cold.

Why does this matter?

Research shows that in an office environment, temperature plays a significant role on task performance. Therefore, in order to ensure top performance in the office, you want employees to be working at a comfortable temperature.

How do we decide on the temperature in the office?

If your office is one to follow guidelines, the CCOHS suggests that an office should be kept between 23-26°C during the summer and 20 -23.5°C in the winter to keep optimal performance. This is a neutral approach to settling the argument.
If not, you can go the democratic way by having a poll in the office to see what people feel their best working temperature is, and going for the majority.

Or go the authoritarian way pick a temperature and have people adjust.

Keep in mind that it is easier to add layers than to stay warm, than it is to adjust to getting cooler.

Here are some tips on how to navigate office temperature issues

Find the Hot/Cold Spots
Most office buildings have hotter and colder areas.
To help fix this, try changing desks with a co-worker that is in the opposite predicament as you. This can solve both of your problems.

Another option is to move your desk to a colder/hotter spot if available.

To help locate Hot Spots
  • Near warm air vents
  • Close to a window – when the sun is shining you will warm right up
  • Near a door to the outdoors (Summer)
To help locate Cold Spots 
  • Cold air vents
  • Near a door to the outdoors (Winter)
  • Near the fridge

If you're not able to move your desk, or switch, here are some suggestions to help you cope with the temperature at your desk:

Get a Fan/Heater: These work wonders! They can blast hot or cold air and you can set the temperature you want (on the fancier ones). They even work in an open concept office.

Layer Up: As Canadians, we know how to layer up for winter! Do the same for your office, minus the parka.

Keep a Blanket or Sweater at the office.

Move Around: Every so often take a little walk to fill your water or get your lunch or go to the bathroom. This will keep your blood flowing and make you a little bit warmer.
In conclusion, trying to please everyone in your office is a hard task. Especially when it comes to the thermostat! It would be great if one temperature fit all but it isn’t the case. Try suggesting these tips to your co-workers that aren’t acclimatized to the office and your office may become a better place.

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