Offices are almost always too cold. While it may be better than running them too hot, cold offices lead to decreased focus, more finger fumbles during typing, and even poor health. Colder temperatures are statistically more likely to be worse for female employees due to a variety of factors. Unfortunately, you might not always be able to change the temperature. Regulations, red tape, and even lease constraints might tie your hands. Here are a few policies that can help everyone make the best of a cold office.
Reshuffle employees according to temperature preferences.
With the increase in instant messaging, live collaboration tools, and in-app messages, coworkers no longer need to sit next to each other to get work done. Even if you want to keep your cubicle rows mostly grouped together by department, you can still reorganize the column assignments. Instead of operating by seniority or sheer happenstance, keep chillier employees near warm spots and the windows and let the ones who like the cool air keep the spots near the vents.
Even if it seems like everywhere in the office has basically the same temperature, grouping people by preference still helps. Instead of every inclined employee keeping a space heater at their feet, they can use larger and far fewer units to heat up a group.
Introduce more permissive space heater policies with clear safety rules.
Space heaters can melt computers, and that’s a problem which is only obvious when it’s too late. Most employees don’t know how fragile computers can be if they’re used to laptops and tablets instead of desktops. When everything is sharing the same socket plate or, potentially even worse, a power strip, something is going to be damaged. You can keep everything safe and warm (but not too warm) by letting employees freely use space heaters but with a minimum distance from the other electronics and a maximum number of units per power strip. Providing safer, smaller, and quieter space heaters for cubicle use might be even better.
Go to Tangram for more office trends and changes that can keep your company culture healthy.