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How Temperature Affects The Workplace

As with top athletes, the deciding factors in business performance often boil down to the little things that give a competitive edge. Whether it’s an office suite, retail store or any other commercial space, temperature control is a “little thing” that makes a big difference. When employees feel too hot or too cold, productivity tanks significantly, according to a Cornell University study. Customers may take their business elsewhere if they’re left shivering or sweating too often.

OSHA regulations suggest maintaining workplace temperatures between 68 and 76 degrees, which keeps most workers in the comfort zone. Here are four things you can do to keep temperatures under control and create a more comfortable — and productive — workplace.

4 Ways to Improve Thermal Comfort in the Workplace

1. Install a programmable thermostat

If you are still bumping the thermostat in your workplace up and down manually, it’s time to consider an upgrade. You can program this device to automatically turn the temperature up or down to optimal comfort levels depending on time of day, day of the week, season or holiday. Big side benefits are likely to include significant energy savings and even an end to office wars over thermostat settings.

2. Insulate walls and windows

A well-insulated room will typically feel more comfortable than one that is not, even at the same temperature. The reason for this is twofold. In the winter, an insulated wall will reflect body heat, making inhabitants feel warmer. In any season, insulation will help block air leaks in walls and windows that create drafts and transmit heat. Insulating your walls and windows also will help you save on energy bills.

3. Use dehumidifiers

Humidity is a measure of the moisture present in air. You may have noticed temperatures feel more extreme in humid weather. That is because of evaporative cooling. As moisture on our skin evaporates, it takes a small amount of body heat with it, helping us feel cooler. In hot weather, a high amount of humidity in the air hinders evaporation and leaves people feeling sticky, sweaty and hot. In cool weather, damp air increases the chilling effect of drafts and breezes. Installing a good dehumidifier in your workplace will help keep humidity in the OSHA-recommended 20-60 percent range.

4. Increase air movement and ventilation

Workplace temperature issues often stem from uneven airflow that creates hot and cold pockets of air or from air stratification resulting from warm air rising to the ceiling and cold air settling near the floor. The solution is to introduce airflow to even out temperatures and remove stuffy, stale air from the work environment. Vents, windows and fans can all be used successfully. Personal fans are the most commonly used workplace airflow solution, but they can create noise, drafts and excessive energy consumption. An excellent alternative is to install a high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fan. This type of fan is designed to gently and efficiently move large volumes of air through a space with minimal disturbance to occupants.

Only 54 percent of employees are happy with the temperature in their workplace. That’s too bad, because applying the few simple tweaks in this article and the accompanying infographic could help many of these workers not only feel more comfortable, but become more productive, too.

Provided by Go Fan Yourself

Still have questions? Ask an HVAC expert directly via chat or phone.

Published on 2019-01-15 by Bill Carlson

Last updated on 2020-06-10

Bill Carlson is CEO and owner of Go Fan Yourself. Carlson founded Go Fan Yourself in 2014 to create innovative solutions to address the gaps in the high-volume, low-speed fan industry.

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