If you have ever worked in an office, you will have had the discussion with colleagues about whether it is too hot or too cold. It’s a question that comes up on a daily basis in offices around the country and one that does not have a straight answer. If you’ve ever been part of this discussion you will have noticed that women always feel the cold before men do. With the change of season bringing cooler temperatures, the heating is being turned up in homes and workplaces kick-starting the debate for another year.
There is no simple answer to this question. It will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of work environment you are in – office, factory, gym floor, warehouse, etc. According to the Health & Safety Executive the minimum temperature in a workplace should be 16 degrees Celsius and where vigorous activity is taking place, this drops to 13 degrees. However, it is important to note that these are not legal minimum temperatures, but guidelines.
So what can business owners do to make sure their staff are comfortable and that some consensus is found – even between men and women?
- Check the HSE guidelines to make sure you know what the recommended minimum temperature is for your type of premises. This should give you a starting point for working towards achieving thermal comfort for your staff.
- Carry out a thermal comfort assessment. This could be as simple as asking your staff whether they are too hot or too cold. For those that are looking for a more in-depth assessment a detailed questionnaire may be more suitable, with targeted questions around humidity levels, temperature fluctuations during the day, sources of draughts or hot spots, and air circulation.
- Undertake regular checks to make sure that ambient temperature is consistent. Check at different times of the day and different times of year as external temperature and working equipment in an office will affect the temperature of a room. Be aware of hot or cold spells that may require an adjustment of your thermostat to compensate for more extreme outdoor temperatures.
- Check vents to make sure that they are not blocked which could make the system work harder elsewhere.
- Check your windows and doors for gaps and cracks which could create draughts or cold spots. If you have single glazed windows, consider whether replacing them with double glazing or secondary glazing is appropriate; an additional benefit to this is the reduction in heating bills as they are much more effective at retaining heat than single glazing.
- Stay on top of HVAC maintenance. A well-maintained system is one that works most efficiently with fewer spikes and dips in temperature and which costs less to run when it is working at optimum levels.
If you would like any advice or assistance in getting the temperature just right for your premises and staff, talk to us at JP Air Conditioning. Call us on 020 8333 1191 or drop us a line at for an initial chat or to make an appointment. We are available 24/7, all year round, should you need emergency assistance.