It sounds like a silly thing, but if you’re the one responsible for regulating the thermostat at the office, you already know what an issue it can be. You might also be invested in this problem if you’re tired of feeling super hot or, alternatively, way too cold at work. So, to help you through the long cold winter, here are a few guidelines for your office that should help everyone get along during prime thermostat-battle season.
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1. Know that no matter what you do, you probably can’t please everyone.
Just in case you worried you were alone in this, trust that this actually is a problem for a lot of people. Being uncomfortable at work as a result of the temperature is really common. A recent survey from CareerBuilder found that 23 percent of workers say their office is too cold and 25 percent say it’s too hot. Also, one in five employees report having argued with a colleague about the office temperature at one point or another. So, before we go any further here, know that however you set that thermostat, you’ll probably still find that a fair percentage of the office is unhappy, and you could be among them.
It’s important to note that folks felt the temperature had a big impact on productivity. Fifty-three percent said that their productivity was negatively impacted by feeling too cold, and 71 percent feel the same about an environment that is too warm. So, no matter the difficulty in finding a solution, this is certainly an issue that’s worth addressing.
2. Be aware of hot and cold spots.
Any space has some areas that are warmer than others. Of course, Murphy’s Law (or something like it) dictates that if you like it warm, your desk will definitely be in the absolute coldest part of the office, and vice-versa. Consider making a change for the winter months, or permanently if it’s easy enough. But, that’s probably a long shot. Another option is to work on identifying other places around the office where you can spend time that could be better for you. Nothing says you can’t answer emails from your laptop in the lunchroom, if you like the temperature in there better and you’re not disturbing anyone.
As much as you might feel a little funny wearing a short-sleeved top in February, if you’re uncomfortable with the temperature at the office, it’s really the only sensible thing to do. These types of practices are the most common methods folks use to deal with this problem. According to the survey, to keep warm, 44 percent of people dress in layers, 36 percent drink warm beverages, 15 percent use a space heater, and 7 percent use a blanket. Similar methods could be applied for the too-warm worker. Whatever the case may be, know yourself and your office and plan (and dress) accordingly.
4. Know what’s normal.
It could be helpful to know that OSHA recommends that office temperatures stay in the range of 68 to 76 degrees. Staying toward the low end of this in winter and the higher end in summer seems logical. If your office falls somewhere within that range, that’s probably about as close to a comfy middle ground compromise as you’re going to get. Of course, setting the thermostat lower saves energy and money; that’s certainly an important factor to keep in mind as well.
5. At some point, it just is what it is…
Remember that a lot of people are unhappy about the temperature of their office. Maybe you’re too cold, but just as many people are probably also too hot. At some point, it just is what it is. It’s certainly not worth getting upset over or causing problems. At the end of the day, you know this is a first-world problem. Appreciate that and let it go.
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