save-money-heating-system.jpgWe’ve all been there — struggling to stay on task and alert in an overly warm office, or unable to think about anything except freezing fingers or toes as you try to work.

You know temperatures vary in offices and commercial buildings — and comfortable temperatures vary for individuals — so what’s an office manager or business owner to do? In this blog, we’ll look at temperature and office productivity, and explain a bit about HVAC systems and how they work to heat and cool your business.

What Is Office Productivity?

Office productivity is the amount of quality work your employees complete in the office. Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not. There are many contributors to productivity and many aspects of working in an office that affect productivity in a negative way. Productivity — sometimes called employee productivity or workforce productivity — is a measurement of the efficiency your workers use to complete work.

Productivity is a concern for employers because you want to get the best value for your investments in employees, and it’s a concern for your employees because they want to do the best job for you and be valued where they work. Time-management, multitasking ability, breaks, and goal-setting can help them be productive, but the temperature of the office may affect them more than you think.

Let’s take a look at how temperature is controlled in your office (you may want to locate the thermostat to start), and then how it affects your employee productivity.

What Is an HVAC System?

Essentially, your commercial building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is made up of the components that keep your office at the perfect temperature for you and your employees. HVAC systems were invented because buildings and offices need heat, cool air, and filtered air from outside — and in the modern office building, you can’t always just crack open a window. HVAC systems make it possible to work inside for long periods of time and still be as warm, cool, or (hopefully) comfortable as possible.

HVAC systems are connected to your office thermostat or thermostats, and in addition to regulating temperature they provide the important feature of improving indoor air quality by filtering out the following:

  • Moisture

  • Odors

  • Smoke

  • Heat

  • Dust

  • Airborne Bacteria

  • Carbon Dioxide

  • Other Gases


HVAC systems are made up of:

  • Thermostats

  • Furnace

  • Evaporator Coil

  • Heat Exchanger

  • Condensing Unit

  • Refrigerant Lines

  • Ducts

  • Vents

You’re probably familiar with some of these items, and some not so much. HVAC technicians at Warner Service will take care of them for you, but after they’re gone, it’s up to you to monitor the temperature of your office for the best employee productivity. Keep in mind that commercial building temperature also affects your heating bill and energy bill. Let’s look at a few studies about employee productivity to find out the best temperature for your office.

How Can Temperature Increase Productivity in Your Office?

Let’s face it — a lot of the time your employees spend at work may not be very productive. Here are some unproductive things your employees may be spending their time on in the office:

  • Replying, sending, and sorting emails

  • Sharing funny emails/GIFs

  • Daydreaming in meetings

  • Talking with co-workers

  • Taking unnecessary or longer breaks than they are allowed

Several studies have also found that productivity is affected by the surrounding temperature of the office — something you want to get right with all the other distractions you may not be able to control!

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that temperature definitely does affect your employees’ creativity. In 2009, 22% of employee respondents to a CareerBuilder survey said when their office was too hot they found it difficult to concentrate. In the same study, 27% of workers said their workplace was too warm, 19% said it was too cold, and 54% said it was just right.

That means that a little over half the offices in the world are the wrong temperature for employees to be the most productive. Is your office one of them?

So, what is the magic temperature for the best employee and office productivity? A study published by the Helsinki University of Technology in Finland and Berkeley Lab's Energy Technologies Area of California found that workplace performance increases when the office temperature is between 69.8 and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21 and 22 degrees Celsius. In addition, the study found that the temperature with the highest productivity was 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius.

Another study conducted by Cornell University found that cold workers make more typing errors and increase labor cost by 10%. When the office temperature increased from 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors decreased by 44% and typing output increased by 150%! Those are big numbers.

Great workplaces are a product of many factors. They require organized policies, a positive work culture, and hardworking employees. However, we often overlook that the environment plays a huge role in how we operate.

So the next time you adjust the thermostat, think about the office productivity levels first — and keep the temperature hovering around 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Your employees and your business will thank you.

If you want Warner Service to take a look at your office’s thermostat, click below to contact us for a scheduled visit.

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