Offices in all climates have had the debate among co-workers at some point -- the office is too cold... or too hot! For some, it's because the building manager is too cheap to spend money on heating or air conditioning. In other cases, the manager is too generous and shows it by blasting the furnace or cool air.
As a leader responsible for a bottom line, happy team, and a positive culture, the debate of temperature should be a concern. Failing to take it seriously can completely break up your team and cause serious issues. In the end, you will lose your job, all because you failed to care about the climate inside the office. Don't believe us? Just check out some of the nasty effects cold temperatures in an office can have:
Lower productivity. As reported in this article from the Association for Psychological Science, it's been proven in various studies that when an office is too cold, productivity drops. The article suggests that 25C is the ideal temperature, but other sources will tell you that it should stay at 21-23. Regardless, one thing is true: frozen people do no work, and shivering people can't produce much quality either. You may find them increasingly getting up from their desk every 5 minutes for a hot beverage (or to thaw out the one they didn't get to finish).
Negative atmosphere. Additional studies have shown that when people are uncomfortable due to temperature, they become more negative. At that point, it's just a matter of time before relationships and teams are hurt due to negative communication and hurtful comments.
Now that your freezing cold office has destroyed your culture and has torn everyone apart, it's a matter of time before they realize they're dissatisfied with their job and up and leave, for better work and warmer conditions.
You can salvage some cold employees by giving them a raise, or maybe they're too untalented to find another job, but now they're going to get sick. This article backs up the fact that cold offices can also impact your employees' health. And before you go turning up the heat too much, there's also such a thing as heat stress.
Won't somebody think of the money?? Perhaps your office is perfectly fine in the winter, and the freezing cold temperatures appear in the summer, when it's hot and people want air conditioning. Sure, you're making the office more "comfortable" by blasting the AC, but do you know how much you're spending? (not to mention the environmental implications).
Perhaps these explanations are excessive and over dramatic, but keeping an office too cold will, to some degree, lower productivity, create a negative atmosphere, cause dissatisfaction, lead to illness, and cost money. Your challenge is that everybody in your office has a different view of "too cold". It could be based off a number of factors and backgrounds, and typically variables like age, weight and gender do make a difference.
You may not always have control over your building's temperature, but be sure to talk to your staff and ensure their comfort while they work. For example, provide individuals with blankets, sweaters or space heaters.
Does your office have battles over temperature? How do you deal with it?