Yes, sometimes it’s about the smelly kitchen, dirty microwave, messy work-desks, or loud coworkers, but no office war is as dramatic, divisive, and ubiquitous as the notorious office thermostat war and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
No matter the country, the continent, or the season, the office thermostat wars rage in workplaces around the globe as workers fight over the optimal temperature in their shared workplace, always complaining about it being either too hot or too cold.
In South Florida, air conditioning can indeed be a pain in the neck, sometimes even literally – when air conditioning is set to extremely low temperatures – and according to some recent surveys, 6 out of 10 employees tend to mess with the thermostat without asking their colleagues if that is ok. But is this behavior really so surprising?
Not so much.
Office-building environment can be a huge factor in one’s performance, and according to Hashem Akbari, professor in the Department of Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering, it can highly influence the company’s overall performance:
“Improving the quality of the office-building environment impacts the comfort of employees, which in turn influences their productivity,” says Akbari.
So, how can we settle the office thermostat war once and for all?
To be honest, we don’t really think this can be done that easily, but here are 3 ways that can help a great deal.
1. Letting Democracy Decide (The Goldilocks Method)
Let’s start with the most obvious solution – democracy. Simply ask all the employees to provide you their own optimal temperature, and then find the golden middle. This method should work on paper and most of the coworkers will find it effective, but there will always be those who will object. That’s where out next, and more modern method comes into play:
2. Using The App Called Comfy
Comfy is an app that allows employees to order up blasts of cool air if they are feeling too hot, or blasts of heat if they are feeling cold. These blasts can last up to 10 minutes. The users of Comfy can send one of the 3 following messages via the app:
- “Warm My Space”
- “Cool My Space”
- or “I’m Comfy”
In order to avoid possible conflicts, the office manager can require at least two coworkers in the same office zone to make an identical request within 10 minutes before taking action.
3. Using Dummy Thermostats
Ok, this one might seem a bit unfair, but it does work!
If your office is dealing with some chronic complainers, installing dummy thermostats can indeed do the trick. These thermostats are usually equipped with fake dials (or buttons) so occupants think they’re in control, but these gadgets are not connected to the air-conditioning system at all.
Although some office managers don’t approve of this tactic, research has shown these dummy thermostats actually make office workers happier and more productive.