Some like it hot (or not)

Author: Elizabeth Baker
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Unfortunately the problem is that different people react differently to heat. We are all used to the frequent workplace disputes around the temperature. There is always someone who is too hot and someone too cold. It is impossible to please everyone, but most employers and employees alike agree that a concerted effort to accommodate as many people as possible goes a long way. When there is a debate around temperature, the solution should be to reach a happy, reasonable medium.

Whether your office has the climate of a rainforest or an icy tundra, it’s undeniable that an uncomfortable office temperature has a significant impact on productivity.  Temperature plays a big role in whether employees are focused and productive, but it walks a fine line. Some believe in the focusing powers of a chilly office, most notably Mark Zuckerberg, who apparently keeps his thermostat at a numbing 59 degrees Fahrenheit but when you feel comfortable in your workplace, you can focus on the work itself and not on being too cold or too hot.

There is no set maximum workplace temperature. However indoor workplace temperatures must be reasonable. The TUC has called for a legal maximum indoor working temperature of 30 degrees Centigrade though the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers suggests much lower temperatures with the recommendation for offices being 20 degrees Centigrade.

To complicate matters even more, in general, research has shown that women feel colder than men do at the same air temperature. Most professionals do not view office temperature as a sexism issue but recognize the different realities for men and women concerning body temperature and clothing options. Normal women’s work attire lends itself to being a little cooler in the summer, making air conditioning necessary for men and a problem for women. Women can wear summer dresses, no tights and cool sandals so why can men not wear smart shorts and a short sleeved shirt?

Most workers unhappy with the temperature in their office buildings recognize that there are individuals who feel the opposite way in the same space. Whether the debate is presented as men versus women or cold-natured versus warm-natured, there’s no one who can fight this battle for you. Ultimately, it’s unlikely you have the individual power to tamper with the workplace thermostat. You win the temperature wars by determining your productivity preferences and planning accordingly to fit your office climate.

 

Elizabeth Baker

About Elizabeth Baker

Elizabeth is our Business Development Manager. She has a degree in both English Literature and Law from Glasgow University. After graduating in 1983 she served her traineeship as a solicitor in Oban. When she was admitted as a solicitor her first job was at Mitchells Roberton in 1985 so she is a well known face. She spread her wings and joined other firms along the way and had a successful law practice under her own name for some years. She returned to Mitchells Roberton in 2011 and works primarily to enhance the marketing of our firm. With her excellent links with small business and the media in the greater Glasgow area, she is well placed in the role and generates a good deal of referrals and new business. Elizabeth is a people person and naturally connects with both staff and clients. Elizabeth has two grown up children and loves walking her dog, travelling and reading literature. Email: eb@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

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