The survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by specialist heating and cooling hire company Andrews Sykes, was aimed at identifying how much the winter chill and poor climate control can harm productivity in the office environment.
With only 10% of all respondents finding their office too hot to handle in winter, Andrews Sykes says the office temperature isn’t just a source of discomfort, it is also a source of unproductiveness. On average, the survey is said to reveal that employees spend around eight minutes each day acclimatising to the office environment, amounting to more than 30 hours/year/employee.
To put the findings into perspective further, in an office of 50 people, 6.5 hours are wasted every day because of climate control. This proves that climate control harms productivity in the office environment.
Breaking it down by gender, the survey indicates that women are worse at adjusting to the temperature and take nearly nine minutes to warm up, whereas men only need six and a half minutes to cope with the office climate.
Broken down by region, the Welsh are most likely to feel the cold with 36% stating that their office was too cold in the winter. This was followed by employees in the East Midlands (32%) and Scotland (30%). Those employees in Northern Ireland are the most satisfied with their office environment with only 20% declaring that their office was too cold.
According to the survey, 24% of employees believe that their office was an ideal temperature for working throughout the year. This means that a staggering 76% are not entirely comfortable with the temperature. In fact, the survey revealed that more than two thirds of women bring in additional clothing to the office just to keep warm and more than 50% admit to drinking more tea in order to warm up.
To keep warm in the office during the winter months, some female employees have even resorted to bringing in a hot water bottle (10%) or their own portable heater (3%).
Bringing in a portable heater has been described as a problem by Andrews Sykes divisional director Andy Whiteley. “Careful planning by facilities managers can be wasted by staff plugging in their own heat sources. What’s more, where offices change layouts and partitions are raised, air conditioning and heat sources are often split between rooms, meaning controls aren’t specifically localised to one place. Disruptions caused by inadequate climate controls are becoming more prevalent, especially with the ever-increasing amount of computer equipment that needs cooling in modern workplaces.”
But, men are less likely to be negatively affected by the office temperature and are therefore less likely to bring in hot water bottles or portable heaters to solve the temperature problem. In fact, the majority of men wouldn’t even wear additional clothing to help them avoid the chill. In the survey, less than 50% of men admitted to bringing in an office jumper or wearing a sweater during the winter months.
Other survey findings include: 27% of women and 17% of men have complained to management about the temperature. 48% of women and 31% of men have complained to a colleague about the temperature. 12% of men and 10% of women have thought about complaining about the temperature. 27% of men and 21% of women think the summer temperature in their office is ideal. 31% of men and 19% of women think the winter temperature in their office is ideal.