The recent rise of remote work seems to have stuck around, even with the pandemic behind us. Despite a few challenges, both employees and employers can benefit from virtual work opportunities that offer increased flexibility and decreased overhead costs.
Maintaining a productive work environment at home takes thoughtful consideration. It’s essential to find ways to minimize distractions, like scheduling specified times during your day to respond to personal texts or make yourself a snack. Finding a space that’s free of clutter and noise can also help you to stay focussed. You should have a comfortable workstation with an ergonomically correct chair and desk, and avoid any temptation to sneak in chores and housework during your shift.
But have you ever considered how the temperature of your home can affect your working conditions? If you’ve found your productivity fluctuating on certain days while working from home, even with distractions kept to a minimum, it could be the temperature of your workspace that’s bothering you.
Determining the ideal room temperature for productivity may vary slightly depending on personal preferences, but it’s probably a bit higher than you think. The old school recommendations of 70-73°F (21-23°C) were based on a male-dominated workforce that preferred a cooler climate and largely wore suits to work.
Today, even in communal office spaces, our gender equitable workforce prefers things a little warmer. Women tend to get colder faster, but there’s also been a momentous shift towards more casual work attire than suits and sport coats. Most offices reach peak productivity in the 73-77°F (23-25°C) range.
Of course, if it’s too warm, you’re likely going to want to take a nap. This is actually backed up by science. A University of Chicago study looked at the impact of climate change temperature increases on economic output, and they found that productivity dropped and absenteeism increased at temperatures in excess of 80°F (26°C).
On the flip side, too cold and you’re likely to make more errors – and also see a drop in productivity. Cornell University researchers found reasonably warmer office environments to be the most productive and accurate.
So what’s a lonely remote worker to do? In addition to the productivity enhancers we mentioned earlier, keeping your physical environment within an ideal range can help boost your virtual work productivity. You may need to experiment to find the best temperature for your preferences, but somewhere around 72°F (22°C) in the winter and 76°F (24.5°C) in the summer is a good place to start.
Consider where your workspace is, as well. If your desk is often in direct sunlight, start with a slightly lower temperature, since you might find that you’re otherwise overheated. If your workspace is drafty, trend upwards to compensate for the cooler air.
Homeowners can take advantage of smart thermostats to keep their workspaces productive. They sense the environment and automatically adjust for comfort and maximum efficiency. This will help out your workday, but it’ll also keep your energy costs lower.
Keeping your heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) system well maintained will also improve energy efficiency and enable it to maintain desired temperatures more effectively throughout the workday.
Another solution is to install a ceiling fan. The additional airflow can reduce indoor temperatures by a few degrees, making a noticeable difference in your comfort level and alertness. This also allows you to regulate the temperature in your workspace without affecting everyone else in the house.
The takeaway is that while most people believe cooler temperatures enhance concentration and alertness, it turns out that being too cold isn’t actually great for office spaces. Likewise, too warm and your productivity will also drop.
Your friendly Whyte Ridge HVAC technicians can help you create the most comfortable and productive work environment at home by providing exceptional service for maintenance and repairs. Ask us about how a smart thermostat can keep your home at the ideal temperature easily and more affordably.
Schedule a comprehensive inspection to ensure your HVAC unit is working efficiently, allowing you to stay cool and productive this summer. Of course, keeping your personal phone out of reach and ignoring all the other distractions around you is something you’re still going to have to manage yourself. Now get back to work.