By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Solutions Northwest, Inc. – Arcata, California
In an office setting, it is important to ensure that all of your workers are working in comfort. Studies show that if your office is blazing hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter, work place productivity suffers.
What is the ideal temperature for the work place?
According to a study done at Cornell University: “When the office temperature in a month-long study increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output jumped 150 percent.” This study was done to show how comfort and environment int he workplace may affect productivity. The study states: “At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate. Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”
Are there temperature requirements?
There are no requirements for employers to maintain a specific temperature at the workplace under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. According to a 2003 OSHA interpretation letter: “office temperature and humidity conditions are generally a matter of human comfort rather than hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA cannot cite the General Duty Clause for personal discomfort.”
While there are no OSHA requirements, office temperature matters and shouldn’t be ignored. If you work in Human Resources or have the ability to alter the temperature, you should definitely be proactive when it comes to workplace temperature.
The research suggests you should hover around 77 degrees. It is also important to speak with your employees to learn what makes them most comfortable, which will lead to more productivity and a better relationship with your employees.
For more guidance on all things Ergonomics, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.
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