Ronan Campbell from Apollo Training has advice for what to do when tempers become heated over the office temperature.
Summer has finally arrived. People are dusting down the barbeques, getting excited about holidays and are enjoying the better weather (fingers crossed).
The summer is fantastic but there might be one cloud on the horizon. Believe it or not, a disagreement over temperature is the main source of arguments in the workplace.
Seven out of ten workers say they are unhappy with the climate in their workplace, which becomes more prominent in the summer and winter months.
In the summer we disagree over opened windows, unplugged fans and radiators being turned off. One section of the office is sweltering, while the section closest to windows or the air con is freezing. This issue can have huge consequences as it damage morale, creates conflict and decrease productivity.
When too cold, employees make 44% more mistakes than at optimal room temperature (77 degrees or 25 degrees Celsius). The reason is we are distracted and are using energy on trying to keep warm, rather than concentrating on our work.
When too hot we become sluggish, as our body uses energy regulating itself. We can become lethargic as we are more likely to be dehydrated. In addition, a rise in temperature can make us irritable and increase the chances of us losing our temper.
So what can we do?
We can start by listening. When an office is divided over the temperature it’s important that we listen to those with different opinions. This can be difficult as we may not understand how they possibly can be too cold/ warm.
However it’s essential to understand that you are all in the same boat, just at different ends. Everyone is affected by this issue and by listening to your co-worker you validate their feelings and demonstrate a willingness to solve the issue.
The next step is to talk about possible solutions. Set aside thirty minutes to discuss options. It is always helpful if a neutral party can lead the discussions, so get management or HR involved if possible.
The final step is to create a timetable and stick to it. Have windows opened at a certain time of the day, schedule the heating or air con to come on and off at the same time. Create routine and balance that allows everyone to plan their day and week. If you know the office gets too cold at 11 am, put on an extra layer for that hour.
This timetable may not be perfect but it gives everyone a sense of control, something that is currently missing. Yes the temperature is the problem but never underestimate “the role of control” in the workplace.
We feel happier when we have an element of control in any situation. Having everyone’s views listened to and taken on board can create a better environment, which is more productive for everyone involved.
Behind most workplace problems is a breakdown in communication and can be resolved. If you would like to discuss today’s topic, training or any other work related issue you can contact me through Apollo Training Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.