Goodbye summer, hello fall! While we enjoy all the apple and pumpkin spice goods our hearts desire, we must be prepared for the unpredictable weather. The fluctuating temperatures make it impossible to pull the plug on the air conditioning, or to hold out on the heat for a few more weeks. Fact is, as much as we want to save a pretty penny, office temperature has a direct affect on productivity.Although companies can’t control the weather, they do have control over one crucial aspect of their efficiency; providing and maintaining a quality HVAC system. Regardless of the outside temperature, an HVAC system can allow employers to ensure the working environment is kept at a consistent and comfortable temperature.
According to a 2006 study by the Helsinki University of Technology, the ideal temperature for producing the greatest output at work ranges between 69.8 °F and 71.7 °F. Workers struggling to stay warm make more mistakes, which a Cornell University study shows leads to a 10% spike in hourly labor costs. But, opinions differ when it comes to the best temperature to keep the office at.
“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,” says Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory.
Before you crank the heat up, there’s a catch! High temperatures can lead to fatigue, lassitude, irritability, headache and a decrease in performance, coordination and alertness. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published the guidelines below, which 80% of the building occupants consider comfortable.
|Relative Humdity||Winter Temperature Range||Summer Temperature Range|
|30%||68.5 – 76 °F||74 – 80 °F|
|40%||68.5 – 75.5 °F||73.5 – 79.5 °F|
|50%||68.5 – 74.5 °F||73 – 79 °F|
|60%||68 – 74 °F||72.5 – 78 °F|
Implementing a quality HVAC system, which includes heating, cooling and ventilation, will distribute air uniformly throughout a building. However, simply having an HVAC system is not enough; it must be constantly monitored to ensure it is working properly. Adding easy to use data loggers can help identify heating and cooling issues, while providing a comfortable and productive work environment.