The survey focused on five major cities in the UK and looked at how the cold affects people’s productivity and happiness in the workplace during winter.
The results suggest that being cold makes people less productive and unhappier, resulting in them wanting to work from home over winter. More than a quarter (26.6%) of 1,501 workers who completed the survey said they had previously ‘pulled a sickie’ because their workplace felt too cold.
There isn’t a law that outlines the maximum or minimum temperature that an office environment should adhere to. However, the Health and Safety Executive states that employers are legally obliged to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace, under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It is recommended that the minimum temperature at the workplace is set to 16 degrees.
Funnily enough, 56% of people questioned thought the optimal office temperature should be set between 17 and 20 degrees, compared to just 16% who voted for a far cooler 13 to 16 degrees. With 28% stating the ideal temperature should be between a balmy 21 and 25 degrees, we can quickly identify that employees much prefer a toasty atmosphere over an Arctic one.
A total of 67% of respondents said they felt cold in their workplace during the winter months. A high 80.9% of respondents said they were grumpier or unhappier when they felt cold. Furthermore, 82.3% of respondents said that when they are cold, they find it more difficult to concentrate and feel less productive at work.
Clearly, employees need to be kept warm at work during the winter to make them happy and productive. The least productive employees are based in Birmingham and Cardiff with 87% of respondents saying that yes, they were less productive at work when they felt cold.
The most productive city was Manchester, although 76.5% of Mancunians still answered yes when asked if the cold made them less productive. London wasn’t far behind with 77.3% responding yes, and unsurprisingly Edinburgh and Liverpool were also affected by the cold with 64.5% and 65.3% of workers admitting the temperature adversely affected their productivity.
Even though Cardiff was the city where most people said they felt cold at work during winter (81%), they were the least likely to ‘pull a sickie’ because of it, with only 20% admitting to doing so.
Londoners were the group who had ‘pulled the most sickies’ due to the cold and 70.3% of respondents said they would consider working from home because of a chilly workplace.
That said, the majority of workers across the UK did say that they are not shy about telling their employer if they felt cold in the workplace – 86% in Cardiff and 85% in Edinburgh respectively – showing that employees are keen to ensure their working environment is at the optimal temperature to get their work done. Likewise, the high demand for heater hire during the same period shows that companies do listen to their employees.
Carl Webb, UK Sales Director at Andrews Heat for Hire commented:
The survey results show how essential keeping the workplace at a comfortable temperature is. During the winter, temperatures can drop below 0 °C outside and we get a lot of requests from businesses who would like to warm up their offices and make sure that their employees are happy and warm.
I’m not surprised about the results as they correlate with the increase of demands we receive during the cold months in those cities. At Andrews Heat for Hire, we work with our clients to select the right heating solution for their needs, whilst keeping fuel efficiency in mind.
Heating is one of the most important features in a workplace, as it can have a major impact on productivity and levels of absence. To keep employees happy, comfortable and coming into work, employers need to listen to their workers and set the thermostat to a temperature that they feel comfortable with.
Article by: Andrews Sykes
For more tips to keep your employees happy & productive, you can check Andrews Sykes’ blog post here.
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