There’s nothing worse than being too hot, or too cold. It’s uncomfortable, unpleasant and distracting, especially when there’s little you can do to cool yourself down or warm yourself up. The temperature of a workspace is vital for employees’ productivity and overall happiness in the office. and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 provide guidance on reasonable working temperatures. While no maximum guideline is in place, a minimum of 16°C is recommended for comfort of employees, or 13°C if the job requires physical work.

The Health and Safety Executive does point out however that ‘the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse.’ And no maximum guideline can be due to some types of industry, for example glass works.

Focusing on offices especially, room temperature affects the ‘thermal comfort’ of employees, which describes state of mind depending on body temperature. State of mind and concentration are essential to be kept healthy and productive for those working in an office and the recommended room temperature for comfort is between 18 and 21°C.

Studies show how thermal comfort affects work efficiency. Northumbria University published research after analysing 16 workplaces, the results from 400 questionnaires showing that cold office temperatures cause productivity to plummet.

Cornell University carried out a small study in 2004, which revealed that workers are more efficient and productive when warm/comfortable. Those in work environments lower than 68F (20C) showed errors increase by 44%.

When designing an office space, depending on space and location, it’s important to ensure temperature adjustment is available. Heating and air-conditioning units are commonly used, regulating the temperature of a space by a thermostat.

As many offices are now open plan, this can be difficult to please everyone in the room, and so personal facilities may be provided too. These could include personal fans, electric heaters, or access to a space close to a window which can be opened for ventilation.

If your office space is small with no windows, ensure there are no large partitions or barriers which may block anyone from ventilation coming through when the door is kept open, for example.

Of course, appropriate clothing for where you work - climate, humidity, time of year – is also something to consider, wearing the appropriate amount of layers, yet being comfortable and unrestricted, still allowing you to perform your job to the best ability.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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