Turn Up The Heat: Warm Workers More Productive

from the seems-counterintuitive dept

I know that, personally, if my office gets too warm, it makes me less productive (and much more sleepy), but a new study has shown that heating up an office tends to make people more productive. If we lived in the age of Taylorism, the next thing you know, offices all over the country will be at a constant 77 degrees (Farenheit), rather than an unproductive 68 degrees (the thermostat here reads 66 degrees — no wonder I’m so unproductive today). However, as we head into winter here in the northern hemisphere, it’s a good reminder that not everything is as obvious as you might think. Employers may balk at turning up the heat, as that’s an expense, but this study claims that the increase in productivity could earn a company an extra $2 per employee per hour — more than likely to offset the heating costs. The details show that at 68 degrees there were many more typing errors and slower output. At 77 degrees, errors decreased 44% and output increased 150%. Apparently, people just don’t stop typing at 77 degrees, but constantly stop at 68 degrees — though, it’s not clear what they’re doing in that off time (rubbing or blowing on their hands? setting the office furniture on fire?).


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Comments on “Turn Up The Heat: Warm Workers More Productive”

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7 Comments
TJ says:

A happy medium?

The human body senses temperature quite well, and everyone’s ideal comfort zone is a bit different. Before every meeting at work it seems some people always comment the room is too cold and others that the same room is too warm. With moderate humidity, 68 F seems chilly to many people, and 77 is warm to many people in common office attire. I wonder what the study would have shown with temperatures between 72 and 75 degrees, which is the range offices I’ve worked in have tended to use.

Mike says:

No Subject Given

I remember a study in college where someone made the lights brighter in a plant and found that productivity increased. Funny though, productivity slowly declined over time. So he decided to dim the lights – and lwo and behold, productvity increased again. the moral of the story is that it was the change in the environment that increased productivity, not the event itself.

bc says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

The Hawthorne studies were conducted in the 1920’s, but the study wasn’t released until the 50’s. Many believe that performance improved not because conditions were changing but because the employees were being monitored. The study was extremely flawed it it’s design, but still useful because future studies that were conducted in a more rigorous fashion also indicate that performance tends to improve when when perceives that their work is being observed.

dorpus says:

Funny thing about Northern California

People in the Silicon Valley/SF bay area have this strange superstition against air conditioning. Buildings, schools, stores are sweltering hot, and people will insist the temperature is “fine”, that air conditioning is evil, that only sissies need it. It’s the same kind of attitudes one encounters in countries like Iraq or Vietnam. Silicon Valley claims to be all about high-tech, but in some aspects they are quite anti-technology. Cell phone reception there was very poor, and I tried more than one carrier. Despite the extreme cost of living, Valley residents are dead-set against building high-rises — these are the sorts of anti-development attitudes we encounter in places like the deep South or Vermont.

If someone builds a place that is pro-development, pro-air conditioning, great cell phone receptions, will that turn silicon valley back into the dust bowl it was?

thecaptain says:

No Subject Given

All I know is that we have a few old women in my office who are constantly cold unless the heat is wayyyy up. (I’ve measured their comfort zone in the 28-30C range if left unopposed…they do this all year around and fight tooth and nail against any attempt to USE the climate control A/C in the summer).

It doesn’t make me more productive. It makes me sweaty, nauseous and sleepy.

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