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A Warm Workplace Will Boost Employee Productivity

We all know that a tropical-feeling workplace makes employees unproductive, but do you know what the perfect temperature is for an office during the cold winter months?

Here at Andrews Sykes, we were really intrigued to find out what the perfect temperature is in order to make employees happy and productive. So, we decided to conduct a survey to find out once and for all what effects the temperature has on people, to help businesses to work out what to set their thermostat to. We caught up with 1501 people across the UK and asked them to tell us how they feel when they work in a chilly environment, and the results were certainly very interesting.

Question 1: “What do you think is the perfect temperature at work?”

Arguably the most interesting find was that 56% of people questioned thought the optimal office temperature should be set between 17 and 20 degrees, compared to the minority of 16% who voted for a far cooler 13 to 16 degrees. In fact, with 28% of people saying the ideal temperature should be between a balmy 21 and 25 degrees, we can easily see that employees much prefer a toasty atmosphere over an Arctic one. (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It is recommended that the minimum temperature at the workplace is set to 16 degrees.

Even though there’s no set legal temperature to work in the UK, the Health and Safety Executive recommends it should be a minimum of 16 degrees. Our stats show however that workers across all cities chose 17 to 20 degrees as their ideal heat, with 65% of employees in Cardiff voting it as the clear winning choice.

Solution: Listen to your workers and set the thermostat to a temperature that they feel comfortable with. While you don’t want people to roast at their desks, it seems people prefer to feel warm than cold at work and you can find that optimal temperature by asking around for a general consensus.

Hover over the light bulbs to reveal our helpful tips on how to improve workplace temperatures to boost employee productivity.

Question 2: “Do you feel grumpier/unhappier when you feel cold?”

The happiest workers in winter are based in Manchester and London, with 23% of Mancunians and 24% of those based in the capital refusing to let the cold dampen their productivity levels.

Overall, our survey highlighted that there is indeed a direct correlation between the temperature in the office and the happiness levels of employees. We found that a surprising 81% of those questioned admitted to feeling grouchy when their place of work is cold. Not only that, but we also saw that 85% of those came from Birmingham and Edinburgh compared to lower figures for workers based in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff where staff remain happy at work in the wintertime.

Solution: You can stop your staff from getting hot under their collars about the cold by making sure windows aren’t left open overnight, checking the radiators are turned on and making sure desks and cabinets aren’t blocking the heat.

Question 3: “When you feel cold, do you find it harder to concentrate on your work?”

Do you work in London or Manchester? Then it’s likely that the winter months don’t slow you down at all! In fact, you are probably one of the country’s most productive employees in the cold weather. According to our study, 23% of workers based in these cities remain focused on their tasks, despite a low temperature in the office.

However, if you think it’s hard to concentrate on your work when the mercury drops, you can take comfort that you’re not alone. According to our results, concentration levels plummet when the temperature does, with 82% claiming to suffer from a decline in productivity when they feel chilly. A surprisingly high number (87%) of people based in Birmingham and Cardiff felt that a cold environment does, indeed, make them less productive. Yet those working in London and Manchester are far happier to work in a cooler environment and 18% of people all over the UK claim that the colder weather doesn’t affect their productivity.

Solution: Sadly, this is not Game of Thrones. Winter has come to your office and people are not always happy about it! Advise your employees to wrap up warm, as pulling on the layers in the colder weather is a simple way to feel warmer at work.

Question 4: “How many hot drinks do you make at work when the office is cold?”

Hot cup of Joe, anyone? Our survey showed us that providing free hot coffee should be part of your employees’ daily grind if you want warm workers in the cold weather. London and Manchester came out on top when it comes to the number of hot drinks they sip when they feel cold - with a whopping 31% claiming to gulp down 6-10 per day, compared to just 19% drinking the same amount in Cardiff.

Solution: Avoid discontent from brewing in the office by providing free cuppas. Invest in a decent coffee machine because the results show that the majority of workers love a good morning bean brew in the colder weather. As a nation of tea-lovers who love nothing more than complaining about the integrity of our tea, you can stay out of hot water with your workers by providing them with good quality tea.

Question 5: “Have you ever pulled a ‘sickie’ because your workplace was too cold?”

The good news is that our survey also showed us that the majority of workers in the UK haven’t taken a phony sick day off work to avoid a cold office, which is great for employers! We unveiled that London workers are the guiltiest, with almost 40% admitting to feigning an illness to avoid the dreaded frosty feeling at work. However, those from Cardiff are the least likely with only a very respectable 20% throwing a sickie to get out of a shivery day in the office.

Solution: Pulling a sickie due to the chill in the office is certainly something businesses want to avoid and creating a new seating plan that keeps everyone in one area is an effective way to naturally crank the body-heat up a notch.

Question 6: “If you could, would you want to work from home because it was too cold at work?”

The answer we got from our survey was loud and clear for this final question: yes! An extraordinarily high number of people – 70% - said that if given the option, they wanted to work from home to avoid a frigid in-office climate. In fact, people from all six regions who took part in the survey agreed, with a high 67%-73% of workers from London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff all claiming they would rather work at home than in an icy office.

Solution: Encourage your staff to get up and move around more by sending out prompting emails and you could even scatter a few blankets around the office for the chilliest workers to wrap themselves up in. This should help to reduce the amount of people who are tempted to flee out the doors to take umbrage in their heated homes.

One of the easiest ways to avoid a rebelling workforce is to provide them with good quality heaters. This can be a considerable investment, so rather than buying enough heaters to fill an entire office, why not hire them? Check out our heater hire services and you won’t have to worry about researching the best heaters, buying, maintaining or storing them in the warmer months.

For content authors: To embed our interactive infographic that contains the findings of our survey, please use the following code:

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