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The Workplace Battle for Thermostat Domination

September 28, 2010

The most powerful person in the office is s/he who controls the thermostat.

Am I right?

Now that we’ve hit one of those times of year when the outside temperature begins to fluctuate daily, s/he who has the power to adjust the building temperature settings is the most popular person around.   Want to take Jim to lunch to talk about your comfort-zone for optimal productivity?  Sorry – the entire marketing department has already whisked him away to P.F. Chang’s.  Have a great idea about buying Cheryl a drink after work and gradually turning the conversational tide towards space heaters?  No dice; she’s been given tickets to tonight’s Lady Gaga concert by the executive team.

I googled “office temperature” and found all sorts of discussions, posts, and even some governmental guidelines:

  • The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety provides guidelines  on “thermal comfort” and recommends that the office temperature be held constant in the range of 69-73° F
  • OSHA has no regulations specifically addressing temperature and humidity in an office setting, but they do “recommend” temp control in the range of 68-76° F
  • There were numerous references to studies from the Helsinki University of Technology (which purports to have found that productivity is at the highest at 70-72° F ) and another study cited in the Cornell News linked warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity

All I know is that in virtually every single work place, and at virtually every single conference, convention, or outside event, the number one complaint that is lodged with building services staff or event organizers seems to be centered around room temperature.

So I don’t know where you may fall on the “comfort index,” but I intend to write down that OSHA recommended temperature of 68 degrees and send it via email to my Facilities Manager.  And then I’m going to tell all my office mates who say it’s too cold to put on a sweater and wear some closed-toe shoes.  It’s just too damn hot in here.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 6:45 am

    You are SO right. Why is it that we can solve so many scientific questions of the universe but no one can seem to figure out office temps. Your post is hilarious!

  2. September 28, 2010 6:49 am

    So why is the minimum in the UK 16c or 61F……are we tougher…..or just disposable? Every time I have an issue with cold….and my office is known as “the fridge” I call a meeting with the Facilities Director in the fridge…..and I talk real slow. Seems to get the message across! 🙂

  3. akaBruno permalink
    September 28, 2010 6:52 am

    I definitely appreciate the heat miser/snow miser shout out. I’m with you. Set it colder, and get a sweater if you need it.

  4. September 28, 2010 5:01 pm

    Agreed. If you are cold, you can always add a layer. If you are hot, you can only take so much off until you are sent home.

  5. Robin Schooling permalink*
    September 29, 2010 9:57 am

    @Trish – “we can send a man to the moon….”

    @TheHRD – perhaps the reputed stiff upper lip keeps y’all a little warmer..?

    @Bruno – sweaters all the way. Mittens? Blankets? Shawls?

    @Dwane – true so true. And the flourescent office lights don’t enhance anyone’s nakedness either….

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