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A cooler office temperature can increase productivity by 12%, finds a study by Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
The study, ‘Heat stress and its effect on psychological aspects of workers in India’, was conducted by IIM-A faculty members Dheeraj Sharma and Rajesh Chandwani, who found that heat stress can have a negative impact on the mental and psychological health of employees, Moneycontrol reports.
“Our study attempts to quantify the improvement in productivity that can be gained through establishment of cooling solutions at indoor workplaces”, Chandwani told Moneycontrol.
Although each employee might have a personal temperature preference, the researchers pointed out that there is a general rule employers can follow to help staff give it their best.
“The optimal temperature for worker performance may vary. For example, in tropical countries the optimal range of ambient temperature (air temperature of an environment) for enhanced worker productivity is about 25-30 degrees Celsius”, Chandwani said.
Although overheating can negatively affect performance, blasting your employees with freezing cold air also isn’t the answer. Last year a study by the Hong Kong Green Building Council found that productivity is reduced by 10% when indoor temperatures drop to 15 degrees Celsius.
It seems a happy medium is the way to go; maintaining optimal productivity without wasting money on counterproductive air-conditioning.
As temperatures continue to rise, the IIM-A researchers highlighted the need for policymakers to pay more attention to the effect of high temperatures on worker productivity.
The Hong Kong government already gets it right, with a recommendation of setting indoor temperatures at 25.5 degrees Celsius.