In the summer it was too hot and now that winter is here it is too cold. If you work in an office environment, we can guarantee that there is at least one person who is either too hot or too cold at any given time. It may even be you, reading this!
It’s a long-standing debate and one that will no doubt rumble on for years to come… How can we get the office temperature right and please everyone? Realistically, it is unlikely that everyone will always be happy with the office temperature, but there must be a way to make it comfortable enough for most. So how can we do that?
What is the optimum office temperature?
The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for ensuring employers offer a safe and comfortable working environment for their staff. As they operate across all industries, it is not feasible to provide a single, legally binding figure that sets a required temperature that is considered optimal; what may work in an office cannot apply as easily to people working outdoors, on manufacturing floors, or those who have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Therefore, they have set two temperatures which are considered to be ‘reasonable’, to be used as a guide:
- At least 16 degrees Celsius, or
- At least 13 degrees Celsius if physical effort is required as part of one’s work
What is a reasonable temperature?
While this will be dependent on the type of work that is required, the Health and Safety Executive has issued a checklist to help. Called the thermal comfort checklist, its aim is to identify whether your staff are uncomfortable with the temperature that is set for the office. A first step is to talk to your employees and find out whether they are hot or cold. From there, you can determine what may need to be done.
Ideas on how to keep a comfortable temperature for most
Here are a few ideas to help you get it right, at least for the majority of your team.
- Talk to your staff. Find out what they think and how they feel about the temperature in the office. Are there any particular hot or cold spots that you can identify?
- Set the thermostat to an agreed temperature and check with staff again. Has anything changed? Are more or fewer people happy? Adjust accordingly if necessary.
- Do a regular check of the thermostat settings and take temperature readings around the office to see if there are any big fluctuations. If there are, can they be attributed to draughts through windows or doors? If yes, then address those as they will not only affect those individuals closest to them but they will also mess with your thermostat as the temperature will never be accurate, potentially exacerbating the problem.
- Deal with any problem vents. There may be blockages or you may need to adjust them slightly so they are not blowing cold or hot air directly onto anyone.
- Run regular maintenance checks of your HVAC system and service it as often as is necessary. This could be quarterly, six-monthly, or annually, depending on the type, size, and area that it is covering.
For more ideas and advice on how to maintain a comfortable office environment or if you need to replace or update your HVAC system get in touch with our JP Air Conditioning team. Find us on the phone on 020 8333 1191 or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org for an exploratory chat or to make an appointment.