February 23, 2022
By Jessica Ellingham

Too Hot, Too Cold, or Just Right?.

I know we all love to have the temperature of a room according to what we like.  Some of us have to have our homes set to 65F year round while sleeping with a fan on and then there are others that like to have them set to 75F in the winter and 73F in the summer and still wear layers inside. As soon as we feel the temperature of the house rise or fall, we start pointing fingers trying to find out who would touch the thermostat! 

But what about when you don’t have the right to touch the thermostat? We have all walked into a store or sat down at a restaurant and either feel like you are going to start to sweat immediately or have to put on a jacket that you thankfully forgot to bring inside from your car months ago. But, what about when we go to work? Most of us spend 8+ hours a day in a room, building, or warehouse where we have no control over the temperature. Have you ever wondered if it’s too hot, too cold in your office? Maybe you feel like it is too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.

Well, OSHA has you covered…somewhat. According to them, it is recommended for an office to stay between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and between 20 and 60 percent humidity. 

OSHA also recommends that if heat is an issue, employees should work in a well-ventilated area or use fans and or air conditioners to keep temperatures down. You can also be moved to a cooler area in the building, to provide cooling stations for breaks, change the dress code to lightweight and loose – fitting clothes. Employers should keep plenty of water or other hydrating drinks available, so employees can keep themselves hydrated with ease. Starting work early to beat the heat of the sun, is also encouraged if possible.

If cold is the issue, there are many ways that OSHA recommends to keep safe and warm. Dressing in warm layers, taking frequent breaks in a dry, warm place, and to avoid exhaustion, which depletes the energy to keep warm. Colder temperatures also cause our muscles to tense up, creating pain and discomfort.

The Stats:

  • When the office temperature is increased from 68F to 77F, errors will be expected to fall by 44%.  Output can be expected to increase by 150%!
  • The highest productivity levels occur just around 71.6F
  • Improving temperature conditions can save an employer as much as 10% in extra labor per employee, per hour, that was previously spent on mistakes due to a “too cold” or “too hot” office.

And now onto humidity! We either love it or hate it. There is no in between! As stated above, the ideal humidity level is between 20 and 60 percent. Even though that seems to be a large range, depending on where you are from, it may not be. 

The higher the moisture count in a place can contribute to the increase in mold growth, which mold spores are never good news!  Mold spores can cause stuffiness, skin and eye irritation and even lung issues. One of the bigger problems with high humidity, besides mold spores, is our bodies having a harder time regulating body heat since it is harder to sweat. 

While high humidity is an alarming concern, low humidity can be as well. The effects of lower humidity can cause you to have sore eyes, headaches and dry throats. Lower humidity in an office that has carpet can be prone to build up static electricity.  It can damage office equipment, but mainly will be annoying to your employers.  Getting or giving a static shock is never fun!

The author.
Jessica Ellingham

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