Hours lost from poor work temperatures
UK: A new survey suggests around 2% of office hours are wasted due to the temperature alone, potentially costing the UK economy an estimated £13bn annually.
The survey also shows the extent of the divide between men and women when it comes to comfort with the office temperature.
One Poll surveyed 2,000 people on behalf of air-conditioning and heating specialists Andrews Sykes, in a bid to discover how much the temperature affected workplace efficiency and output. It was found that less than a quarter of office workers find the temperature in their office comfortable, with more than a third suggesting they take at least 10 minutes out of work each day due to temperature alone.
Only 24% agreed that their office was an ideal temperature for working throughout the year.
Women wasted an average of 33% more time (around 9 minutes, compared to 6.5) than men trying to acclimatise themselves to inadequate office conditions. 70% of women have needed to bring in additional clothing to the office to keep warm, and 50% resorted to excessive cups of tea, while fewer men – 44% and 28% respectively – needed a jumper or a hot drink. Surprisingly, nearly 10% of women have even resorted to bringing in a hot water bottle to work.
With 29% of people surveyed estimating they spend between 10 and 30 minutes each workday not working due to an uncomfortable office temperature and 6% believing they spend more than half an hour each day not working well for this reason, the lost hours are potentially huge, according to the report.
These figures, if representative, mean that an office of 100 people will have at least 8 hours wasted each day, due to the temperature alone.
Helen Pedder, head of HR for ClearSky HR, a Cheshire-based company offering advice to business on a wide range of HR and employment law issues, commented “Whether temperatures soar or plummet, unbearable office conditions can have a serious impact on employee health and well-being. Unfortunately the law is left open to misinterpretation by simply stating that employers must provide a ‘reasonable’ workplace temperature.”