With Punxsatawney Phil telling us that we have six more weeks of winter to look forward to, we can expect people to maintain their obsession with the office thermostat or keep running personal electric heaters under their desks. The big question is: “Is all this extra heating power and cost worth it?”
A recent study by Cornell University professor Alan Hedge, Ph.D., CPE, found that working environments with more comfortable temperatures not only make workers happy, but warmer offices can also improve productivity. The study placed computer workers in an environment where room temperature could be taken every 15 minutes. After one month, researchers found that when office temperatures dropped from “Austin to Boston” (77 to 68 degrees), typing mistakes increased by 74% and typing output dropped by 46%.
So what do you think? Is the extra cost of a warmer office worth the increase in productivity and worker happiness? Or is this research a trap for anyone with facilities management and ergonomics responsibility?