Creating a workplace environment which is just right for maximizing productivity is already hard enough. A balancing act of so many variables, all finely tuned to subconsciously get the most out of your employees.
Well now you can add climate control to that list, as research shows that temperature and weather conditions have a significant impact on office productivity.
The temperature of an office is one of those things that can never be just right. Air conditioning responsibilities of the entire office often lie with one lucky employee – usually whoever sits closest to the air con dial.
But you might want to start paying more attention to how high the mercury rises in your workplace, because it could be costing the business big time. A workplace that’s too cold or too hot will seriously hamper employees’ concentration and ability to complete tasks efficiently.
A study out of Cornell University in the US found that a cold office was costing employers 10% more per hour, per employee. Controlling the thermostat in a large insurance company’s office, the research showed that when the temperature dropped below 20°, employee errors shot up 44% and productivity dropped by half, compared to when the office was a comfortable 25°.
And that’s not even taking into account the added time spent making cups of tea, which seem to explode whenever the gloves and scarves come on.
On the flip side, when the world around us is warm and friendly people tend to be warmer and friendlier also, making for a more cohesive workplace. Psychologists argue that the improved interpersonal connections people make when the air is warm are key to a better functioning team of employees. A UCLA study also concluded that warmer temperatures lead to greater job satisfaction.
So what’s the magic number then? Where should the dial be sitting to get your employees ‘in the zone’? Most of the research concludes that between 21 and 22° is where you want to be, the prime temperature for office excellence.
This doesn’t mean you should be hailing the return of summer though, because there is a catch. While cold temperatures may be the nemesis of a productive workplace, just as dangerous are those damn sunny days.
According to Francesca Gino of the Harvard Business School and co-author of research paper “Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity”, when the sun is shining employees are distracted by all the outside opportunities a sunny day brings. Alternatively rainy days are when the best work is done because no one is thinking about going to sit in the park.
The conclusion? Start practicing your rain dance and keep an eye on anyone fiddling with the air con.
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