It’s a never ending argument: The office is too hot. No, it’s too cold. Seems it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy when it comes to the office climate.
According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 23 percent of employees say their office is too cold, while 25 percent are too hot. Office temperature isn’t just a source of discomfort, however; it can also be a source of conflict. One in five workers (20 percent) have argued with a coworker about office temperature, and 18 percent have secretly changed the temperature during the winter.
Turns out that gender plays a role when it comes to the temperature wars in the workplace: Thirteen percent of men say they are too cold, 28 percent too hot; and 31 percent of women are too cold, 22 percent too hot.
“It’s impossible to change the thermostat to something that pleases everybody,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resource officer at CareerBuilder. “But what you can do is look at what employees want and need to be productive and accommodate where you can.”
Broken down by industry, information technology employees are the most comfortable with their office temperatures:
|Health Care||Retail||Sales||Leisure & Hospitality||IT||Manufacturing||Financial Services|
Rising Temperatures, Lower Productivity
Office temperature can have a significant impact on productivity, according to the survey. More than half of employees (53 percent) said sitting in an office that is too cold has a negative impact on their productivity, while 71 percent said the same for a warm environment. Women are more likely than men to be negatively affected by both too cold and too warm environments — 58 percent are affected by cold (versus 47 percent of men) and 74 percent by hot environments (versus 68 percent for men).
To keep warm during the cold winter months, employees are taking action by:
- Dressing in layers: 44 percent
- Drinking hot beverages: 36 percent
- Wearing a jacket all day: 31 percent
- Wearing a heavy sweater: 27 percent
- Using a space heater: 15 percent
- Using a blanket: 7 percent
How to Call a Truce on Office Temperatures
Differing opinions on an ideal office temperatures can send tempers running hot. Haefner offers employers a few tips for keeping the peace:
- Try to agree on the degrees: Ask employees to agree on a temperature setting that will be acceptable to everyone. Let workers know you’ll check for a few days and tweak settings until you find a happy medium.
- Make special arrangements: Some employees, such as those who sit under a vent, may need special provisions, such as space heaters or cooling fans. Consider accommodating them, but make sure you set safety rules first.
- Check on your insulation: Make sure windows are correctly sealed to keep warm air in during the winter and block heat in the summertime.