Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
That’s the conclusion of a CareerBuilder survey of 4,285 full-time U.S. workers that found 22 percent claiming a too-hot workplace makes it difficult to concentrate at work. Eleven percent made the same claim about chilly workplaces.
“There are many factors that can affect workplace productivity,” CareerBuilder’s vice president of HR, Rosemary Haefner, said in a news release. Those factors include the workplace temperature as well as burnout and the economy, she added.
Other findings from the survey, conducted from Aug. 20, 2009, through Sept. 9, 2009, and released in December 2009:
The survey results are the latest in a number of studies on workplace temperatures’ effect on productivity.
Workplace performance increases with temperatures up to between 69.8 degrees and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees to 22 degrees Celsius), with the highest productivity at around 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a study published July 2006 by researchers from the Helsinki University of Technology, Laboratory for Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning in Finland, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Berkeley, Calif.
A month-long Cornell University study conducted in 2004 at Insurance Office of America’s headquarters in Orlando, Fla., found that chilly workers make more errors and potentially increase a worker’s hourly labor cost by 10 percent.
The number of typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output increased 150 percent when the office temperature rose from 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the study found.
“The results of our study also suggest raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour,” Cornell professor Alan Hedge said in a news statement when the results were released in October 2004. Hedge teaches design and environmental analysis.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have regulations that address temperature and humidity in an office setting specifically, but a subsection of its technical manual does recommend temperatures ranging from 68 degrees to 76 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity ranging from 20 percent to 60 percent.
CareerBuilder’s Haefner suggests optimistically that if the office temperature is a concern, workers and employers can “easily work together to find common ground so productivity does not suffer.”
The challenge, though, is agreeing on a comfortable temperature—10 percent of workers CareerBuilder surveyed have fought with a co-worker about it.
Some suggestions Haefner offers:
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
The SHRM Member Discounts program provides member-only access to discounts on products and services you can apply to your life and career, and share with your company.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies