Warm Or Cold? Temperature In The Office

Temperature in the office

As we head into summer the topic of temperature in the office is more likely to occur. It is pretty much guaranteed that there will always be someone who will complain about the temperature, whether they are too cold or too hot.

The problem in the workplace is that you will never achieve the ideal temperature for everyone, so you have to try and strike a balance. The problem with being too hot or too cold in the office is that it can directly impact your productivity; people don’t focus on work when their mind is distracted by the fact that they don’t feel comfortable.

Another negative of extreme office temperatures is that once people start to complain, the general mood of the workforce will increasingly decrease the longer it goes on. As you may imagine, there can be nothing worse than a few hundred employees angry at feeling uncomfortable.

What Are The Laws Regarding Temperature?

In the United Kingdom, the laws regarding temperature are outlined in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Employees have a legal obligation to ensure that there is a ‘reasonable’ temperature for employees, but apart from that there is no set in stone temperature.

For workplaces that do not require physical labour, the advised temperature is a minimum of 16ºC in a work environment such as an office. In areas where physical labour is required, the recommended temperature is 13ºC. There is no maximum temperature limit that is advised, simply that your employer must keep it at a comfortable level.

The Law on Temperatures In the Office

Warm Up When It’s  Cold

Obviously it can be hard for employers to figure out the perfect temperature for everyone, so employees should also make some attempts to make themselves comfortable. If you’re too cold in the office, try and layer up with extra sweaters or even scarves if you’re allowed. If you become too hot, you can simply remove the extra layers!

Getting plenty of hot drinks can be a great solution to not only get you up and moving, helping you to get warmer by increasing your body movement, but also just because the drink is warm! You can hold the hot cup to heat up your hands while giving you a great warming feeling by drinking it.

Some offices may advise against this, or it may be entirely against their dress codes, but if you live in one of the lucky offices that won’t mind (or have a manager who is okay with it) then wearing gloves is a great way to warm yourself up. Having cold hands and having to type can be the worst combination, but gloves, even fingerless gloves, will allow you to warm up your hands quickly.

Keeping Cool When It’s Warm

On the opposite end is trying to keep cool, hopefully your office has air conditioning to keep the workplace cool on hot days, but you may work in one that doesn’t have this – or the air conditioning may be broken!

Having a fan in the office can be a great way to get cool air circulating around and they are often quite cheap to buy as well. There are many kinds of fans that you can use, from USB fans to desktop fans to even larger tower fans.

Fans To Cool

Use fans to cool down

Make sure to drink plenty when you’re feeling too hot as it can be incredibly easy to become accidentally dehydrated. Try and have cooler drinks such as ice cold water or juice, there’s no point in increasing your temperature with a hot drink!

In the entire opposite direction of our earlier advice, try and wear less on hot days. You may not be able to wear vest tops and shorts like you would outside, but avoiding jackets, cardigans and so forth can help. Also try to wear fabrics that are much lighter, jeans can be very constricting in hot weather so try to see if you can wear something like linen on cotton.

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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