Fights over the office thermostat are as inevitable as the seasons.
If you work in an office, chances are you've surreptitiously tweaked the temperature dial, only to find your change undone by one of your equally sneaky coworkers. Thermostat battles can lead to heated disagreements and icy stares.
Those who prefer a warmer workplace will be happy to know that they have a group of Cornell researchers on their side.
Their study found that turning up the thermostat can be great for productivity. Here's what you need to know.
- The setup: Researchers outfitted a group of office workers at an insurance company in Orlando, Florida, with portable temperature sensors and loaded their computers with productivity tracking software that measured total time spent typing and typing errors, among other things. Measurements were taken every 15 minutes for more than three weeks.
- The findings: Higher temperatures (around 77 degrees) were associated with greater productivity than lower temperatures (around 68 degrees). Warmer workers typed 150% more and made 44% fewer mistakes than their chillier colleagues.
- The takeaway: Warm offices can help spur productivity hot streaks.
Some Like It Hot
The researchers didn't hypothesize why warmer offices could lead to more productivity. But I did some digging and came up with a theory that I think could explain these findings.
There's some compelling evidence that warmer temperatures produce more positive emotions. One study demonstrated that when rating products, individuals give better assessments when they are warm than when they're cold. In another study, researchers found that people exposed to warmth were more likely to be friendly and generous than people exposed to cold.
In general, warm temperatures promote positive feelings. And happy workers are hard workers. That could be why warm offices are more productive.
Of course, this is probably only true up to a point. If your office is a sweltering sauna, employees won't be happy, and they sure won't be productive. But keeping your office toward the warmer side of comfortable could help spur employees' positive feelings, which in turn could boost productivity.
So, if you'd like to enhance your productivity, turning up the thermostat is worth a try. But you'll have to warm your coworkers up to the idea first.