Whether you run a customer-facing business or a company office, you should know just how important employee comfort is to productivity. And one of the most important factors in keeping employees comfortable? The temperature.
For the sake of this article, we’ll be focusing more on the office environment. If you work in an office, you may have already witnessed thermostat wars (or have taken part in them yourself) with people arguing about what the ideal temperature is for the office. This is because, for the majority of employees, the ambient temperature is vital to their level of comfort while working. If it’s too hot or too cold, the discomfort can keep them from functioning at their best.
That said, keeping the office at a comfortable temperature is crucial to employee productivity, happiness, and motivation. This is especially important in the winter and summer, where the temperatures are at their extremes. For the latter case, here are some of the best ways to help keep employees comfortable.
Fix the AC before summer
Before the summer months roll in, it is highly recommended to have an AC specialist come over and inspect the unit. If you lease an office space, request an inspection from the building manager. If you need to repair something or need a replacement for the AC unit entirely, it is better to do it before the temperatures start rising.
Keep the AC on
Keeping the AC on throughout summer may impact your utility bills, but ensuring your employees are comfortable is worth paying for the additional costs. Set the thermostat at a cool (but not freezing) temperature and adjust it accordingly during the hottest parts of the day. Don’t hesitate to set the temperature lower if your area is experiencing a heatwave, in which case a standard ‘cool’ temperature may not be enough to keep the entire office comfortable.
It may also be a good idea to keep the AC on throughout the workweek to save money. However, keep in mind that AC units consume the most energy upon turning on, and you may be inadvertently increasing your utility bills by turning them on and off every day.
Invest in fans
The AC may not be enough to keep all employees cool. The cold air may not reach some parts of the office, and some employees run hotter than others. Provide personal fans to employees who wish to have them at their desks. And if there are certain spots in the office don’t get enough cool air, place standing fans in them to provide additional cooling.
Encourage appropriate clothing
Advise employees to wear light and loose clothing that will allow them to stay cool and comfortable in the summer. If your office has a dress code, remind them that they can wear more comfortable clothing during the summer as long as it is appropriate. For example, they can forgo the blazers and wear their work shirts and dresses if the weather is too hot.
Prevent the sun’s rays from entering the office by installing blinds on the windows, especially those that face the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Doing this will also prevent screen glare that can make it uncomfortable for employees to use their computers.
Turn off electronic devices when not in use
Electronic devices such as printers and computers give off heat that can help offset the efforts of your AC. Instruct employees to turn off any electronic devices that are not in use to avoid warming up the office—as well as to save money on electricity.
Close unused rooms
Close the doors of unused rooms to keep the cool air within the main areas. If the office has centralized cooling, do not close the vents because, contrary to popular belief, doing so may increase your utility bill because of the added pressure on the system.
Ensure access to cold water and ice
Hydration is critical during the summer. Help your employees stay hydrated by providing easy access to cold water and ice. You can also encourage them to drink more water by giving out reusable water bottles and placing water dispensers near the main working areas.
Keeping cool during the summer is not only important for productivity—but it is also imperative to one’s health. Help your employees stay comfortable, healthy, and hydrated during the intense summer months with these actionable strategies. Not only are you doing your part as a responsible employer, but you’re also helping boost productivity within the workplace.