Are your employees fighting over the office temperature?
- Employees aren’t just at odds about projects or digital tools — they’re also fighting over office temperature, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. The group found that 15% of employees report arguing with a co-worker about office temperature, and 19% said they've secretly changed the office temperature.
- Almost half of respondents said they're unhappy with their workplace's temperature, with the complaint most frequently being that it's too cold. Both men and women were more likely to say that their workspace was too cold, rather than too hot. Half (51%) said a cold office makes them less productive, but 67% said an office that’s too hot is just as bad.
- To cope with cold workplaces, employees reported wearing layers, wearing a jacket all day and using a space heater. Those in hot workplaces say they drink cold beverages and use a personal fan. CareerBuilder said that employees should try to find a compromise temperature and, in the summer, take frequent outdoor breaks.
While office temperature may not be life or death for those working indoors most of the day, it shows just how easily communication can break down between employees, leading to arguments and underhanded tactics.
Summer, generally, is one of the seasons where employees may be asking for more flexibility or taking vacation. Employers may be able to head off arguments over air conditioning and chronic summertime slowdown by allowing more flexibility, both in the office (regarding where workspaces may be) and out of it.
In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guidelines on keeping work areas comfortable year-round on its website. It also recommends ways to avoid extreme temperatures that can cause health problems, such as hypothermia or heat stroke, particularly for employees who work mostly outdoors. Consideration for employees with chronic health problems that could be affected by temperature extremes also should remain top of mind, as some can amount to disabilities that require accommodation.