With the weather this week fluctuating between dry and warm and then cold and damp the environmental system inside the office has been stressed. Some of my coworkers feel too hot and so set the thermostat to a temperature reminiscent of winter. For one co-worker that meant anything below 20°C (~68°F). She set the thermostat and about two hours later a bunch of us started complaining it was too cold. I decided to research the topic and sent her the results of my research.
What’s the best temperature for an office? I found a few articles that referenced research that indicated that 70-72°F was ideal for productivity. This article claimed 23°C (~73°F) and so did this one in Forbes. It seems that productivity rises in the winter and decreases in the summer. I’m not refuting that 72°F was great for productivity, but it is uncomfortably cold. I don’t think I could work a whole day at that temperature and be happy. In fact other research indicates happiness decreases in the winter and depression increases. Corporate America is filled with unhappy but productive workers in the winter but happy and low producing workers in the summer.
At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate.
I found another article that reference research that seemed to show that while productivity was ideal around 73°F, productivity and comfort were optimal around 25°C (~77°F). If you want optimally productive workers keep them cold but unhappy. But what if employee happiness is important. Well then 25°C (~77°F) is ideal. It’s not too cold and not too warm. It’s just right.
I’m not sure I can convince my office coworkers to leave the thermostat at 25°C (~77°F) but I would love if I didn’t have to wear a sweater to work in my office in the summer. Now to convince my wife that 68°F is the optimal winter temperature for the house. Or maybe I’ll just grab another beer first.