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Chilled Workplaces Hamper Productivity

August 5, 2015

Do you see your employees bundled up in Cardigans or an oversized sweat shirt is always stored in their personal drawer? While some people take frequent breaks to get out of the cold, few others choose to stick by the hot coffee machine.

There are some employees who place a cardboard to block air vents or quietly switch on space heaters under their desk. This happens all the time at chilled workplaces and is an ignored concern, since the air-conditioning temperatures are fixed at an all-time high for cold air to circulate across the entire workstation.

However it is important to consider that, not all are blessed with warm bodies and you can see women more commonly freezing at workplaces in comparison to men. This consequently results in ill health, thus hampering productivity.

An interesting piece in NYTimes, cited attribution to an article published in the journal of Nature Climate Change saying, “Most office buildings set temperatures based on a decades-old formula that uses the metabolic rates of men.”

If this in any which ways holds partially true then, it is required that office buildings do not inculcate or habituate such gender-discrimination bias in thermal comfort standards. Also for a reason, setting temperatures in workplaces at slightly warmer levels helps combat global warming.

Organisations should make this extra bit of effort every day in a small way to contribute to the environment around, by monitoring the air-conditioning temperatures.

See: How to Prevent Productivity Burnout? Tips for HR Leaders

According to Cornell University findings, warm work zones promote productive workings. Workers, who are freezing, not only increase the chances of more errors in job done but also lead to hourly increase in labour costs by 10 percent.

Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory suggests, “Raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour. Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”

“Women do register temperature a little more sensitively than men,” says Susan Mazur-Stommen of Indicia Consulting, a company that studies human behaviour and sustainability. “However, what you also see is gendered clothing differences, particularly seasonal. We have norms that say it’s more acceptable for women to show more skin,” Washington Post reports.

The U.S. Department of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommend businesses to keep their temperatures at workstations set between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity between 20 and 60 percent.

Once HR managers start sensing discomfort among maximum employees with some being heavily clothed or wrapped up, one half freezing to death in their formal wear and a bunch ridiculously comfortable, then it’s time to implement fixed standards for air conditioning cooling, such that workers feel warmed up and motivated to perform better.

Also adopting of energy-saving meters and energy saving building designs could help to deal with the company’s generally tendency to over cool workplaces. It can be quite possible that your office’s thermostat is set for men’s comfort. Here’s the scientific proof.

Also read: Strange Productivity Killers at Work That Impact Performance

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