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OFFICE TEMPERATURE

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 21, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Who controls the thermostat in your office?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of the touchiest subjects in any office is the room temperature. This has probably caused more arguments in the office than just about anything else. It may seem like a small thing but people tend to be passionate about the temperature. When it comes to controlling the thermostat, women typically like to turn it up, while men turn it down.

There are pros and cons to keeping the office cool or warm. If it is cool, people tend to be more alert but it may also affect the joints (as anyone with arthritis can tell you). Interestingly, certain office equipment, such as computers, operate better under cooler temperatures. On the other hand, a warm room on a cold winter day is welcomed by just about everyone, but if it becomes too warm, especially on a summer day, it can put people to sleep particularly after lunch. It can also cause people to slowly become irritable, impatient and irrational which isn’t exactly conducive fora cooperative work environment.

If you leave the temperature to the employees to control, you’ll probably hear the thermostat click up and down like a pogo stick which inevitably drives heating and air conditioning bills sky high. If you’re an office manager, you would be wise to put a lock on the thermostat and hide the key. Whatever you do, don’t turn the temperature over to the employees by a show of hands. I’ve seen this done and believe it or not has led to a division in the employees and hurt morale. As manager, you are responsible for controlling the work environment which includes the temperature of the room as well as other things, such as noise and cleanliness.

As for me, I’m of the school of keeping it “cool” as I would rather keep the employees more alert during the work day. If you’ve got a problem with it, they’ve got this new thing out to keep you warm: sweaters.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
BUREAUCRATS – Impediments to progress or necessary evils?


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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7 Responses to “OFFICE TEMPERATURE”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A K.E. of Sacramento, California wrote…

    “Good! Sweaters are the answer! Or activity!”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A B.B. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “Years ago I was the architect and general contractor for a suburban Chicago office building, rented to multiple tenants. The building had a VAV or variable air volume HVAC system that allowed for multiple zones. We received constant bitching from a variety of the tenants that they were either too cold or too hot.

    One weekend we went into each tenant space and installed a thermostat on the wall. The ‘stats were not connected to anything. However, it solved the problem since we no longer received the complaints.

    Go figure!”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An S.S. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “Ha ha ha ha sweaters ha ha ha ha ha

    Thanks for starting my work day with a belly laugh “

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “When I was stationed in Scotland (3 years), my office was below ground level (in a basement of the building). My office temperature was 61F year round – whether they had the heat on or the A/C on …

    At first, it was a challenge to get used to, but eventually you do, in fact, get used to it and it feels “normal” after a while.

    The Scots, being a practical people, tend to dress in layers during colder weather…thinking that as the temperature changes during the day, you can take off a layer and remain comfortable. They also don’t heat their whole house – they couldn’t afford it because usually the homes are built with large stones which tend to retain heat or cold for a long time. They would use a portable kerosene heater and take it to the room they would occupy and heat that area – which was more cost effective…after all…you don’t need to heat a room if no one is in it, right? Anyway, when an American guest would come visiting, out of deference to our needs they would raise the temperature in the room to 55F (from their normal 50F or so).

    So, it’s really a matter of what you get used to, not necessarily what you want.

    I’ve worked in places where the building had “zones” – and those on the east side in the morning would have one temperature while the west side would have another, and then in the afternoon, the sides would switch. Drives employees nuts trying to understand why one part of the office is cold and the other is warm … regardless of where the thermostat is set.

    For a long time, companies (and the military too) would regulate the temperature to suit the needs of the equipment – mostly because it couldn’t move around and people could. If you had a LOT of equipment (translation: heat generators) in the room, they would pump a LOT of cold air into the room to keep the equipment happy. Of course, in the middle of summer, people would be wearing foul weather gear just to stay relatively warm. Today, we’ve figured out that maybe you should force the air through a plenum up through racks and let the equipment warm the air in the room up a bit as it rises through the equipment and out the top – and it makes for a more comfortable room for the equipment AND the people. The biggest concern and problem now is the ambient noise from the air being forced through the vents to keep everything comfy.”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A B.W. of Macon, Georgia wrote…

    “Easy solution, the thermostat is an automatically adjusted to keep the temp with in 69- 74 range, in cold weather, a false fireplace makes it feel warmer and in the summer an animated picture with snow flurries helps to dispel the heat.

    Now a funny story about the thermostat. Several years ago you may remember we had in this country a kind of thermostat police. They checked the temp of business and if about 68 they wrote a citation. One of this folks just happened to walk in my wood shop one morning and without saying anything proceeded measure the temp in my shop. It was around 80 and he checked several places around the shop before pulling out his book and writing me a citation. As he handed it to me he explained who he was and why he was there. I smiled and told him that I would enjoy taking this citation to court. He asked on what grounds I had to refute it. I said, “Sir, I do not have a heater of any kind in this shop.”

    He asked, “How is it that the temperature is 80 and above?”

    Again I smiled and said “Sir, the bakery next door has it ovens backed up to my wall, The heat warms my shop. Would you like a cup of coffee?”

    He took back the citation and stormed out of my shop. I would not have charged him for the coffee. “

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “I heartily agree! Having passed through menopause, I cannot praise the cardigan sweater enough. Too hot, take it off. Too chilly, put it on. It’s tough to get a group to be thermostatically compatible, so sweaters seem to be the best solution.”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A J.H. of Georgia wrote…

    “OMG that is good. I am the office manager and unfortunately have a boss in the building that I can’t make understand, that the unit does not switch from heat to cool or back and forth on its own. She will set the temperature, and expects it to turn the heat on if it falls below it, or switch the air conditioning on if it goes above. They may make this type of unit, but we don’t have it. We have three thermostats in the building operating three different systems, with common areas between all of them. I have found them on many occasions, some set on heat some set on cool, poor units are battling each other, it drives me crazy and I have just about thrown in the towel! LOL Can you tell this touched a nerve this morning! LOL I came in to Air conditioning in the largest part of our space set at 68 and the other two units set at Heat 72, so what do you think went on for the past three days, that we were in the low 20’s each day.”

    Like

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