The Workplace Battle for Thermostat Domination
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.