When it comes to the temperature in your office, are you a Nelly, or a Clover?
The Nelly's amongst us are always complaining how it's so "hot in here". They roll up their sleeves, fan their faces with a manila folder, and are constantly standing on their desks checking to make sure the vent is pointed in the correct direction.
The mantra of our Clovers (or Torros, depending on who's side you take in Kirsten Dunst's cheerleader comedy Bring It On from 2000) is "Brr, it's cold in here". Clovers are frequently bundled up in sweaters, keep a plush blanket in a desk drawer, and have a mini-heater stashed under the desk to keep those tootsies warm.
Numerous studies show that office temperature affects workplace productivity. That is kind of a no brainer. If people are uncomfortable, they will spend their time talking about how they are uncomfortable or taking steps to make themselves comfortable, thus being less productive.
This study, from Cornell University, claims that workers in a chilly environment are more likely to make mistakes than their warmer counterparts. Researchers conducted the study at an insurance office in Orlando over the period of a month. They found that "typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output jumped by 150 percent".
So what is the ideal temperature? The temperature that will both satisfy the Nelly's and the Clovers? Another study, this one by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as quoted in this article on Smithsonian.com, says that "the optimal range for workplace performance is between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with the sweet spot being 71.6 degrees."
That's a good place to start. A solid 72 degrees should make the office comfortable for everyone.
The Office Pet Peeves Tournament Part 2 (Featuring the Thermostat Teeter-Totter)
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