HR Strange But True!
December 16, 2009

While “some like it hot,” one-in-five workers who think their workplaces are too warm are leaving productivity out in the cold, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

When asked in the survey if temperature at work affected their ability to get work done, 22 percent of respondents said that a too-warm workplace affects their ability to get work done, while half that number (11 percent) had the same reaction to a workplace that was too cold.

Nineteen percent also said they suspect their employers have turned down the heat to save money.

Luckily over half of respondents (54 percent) reported that the temperature in their workplace was “just right.” However, preferences in temperature can cause cubicle conflicts, with 10 percent of respondents reporting having clashes with coworkers over the office temperature.

“There are many factors that can affect work place productivity,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources for CareerBuilder. “Everything from morale, burnout, and as our survey finds, temperature, can have an impact on workers' ability to get their work done. If temperature is a concern, workers and employers can easily work together to find common ground so productivity does not suffer.”

So if your workers are squabbling over the thermostat like the three bears over their porridge, Haefner offers the following tips to maintain productivity--and harmony--regardless of temperature:

* Thermostat talk. Do some workers like the office steaming while others prefer a chillier work space? To prevent workers from secretly changing the thermostat behind each other's backs, send around an e-mail or directly discuss a compromise on temperature with colleagues.

* Layer it on (or off). Advise workers that the best way to prepare for a fluctuating office climate is to layer clothing. That way, one can remove or add items to remain comfortable (and able to do their best work).

* Make it work. If you know that a particular time of day or space in the office is too warm or too cold for you to work productively, be proactive by finding alternatives. Talk to management about having employees come in earlier, move to a conference room for a portion of the day, or telecommute during winter months.

A while back, HR Strange but True! noted a report from the Wall Street Journal that many office thermostats are fake--installed to make workers think they have control over the temperature in the workplace.

Source: CareerBuilder

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