20 Jul 2023

Hot desking hazards

Soaring summer temperatures can make offices an uncomfortable environment to work in and also affect employees’ productivity. New research has examined the impact temperatures can have on workers and suggested an optimum indoor heat level.

Study participants were asked to perform a ten-item task and also voted on how they perceived factors including thermal sensation and satisfaction. Physical factors such as body temperature, heart rate, bloody pressure and blood oxygen saturation were also measured.

Researchers found that the optimum indoor temperature for workers was 17C, with a body temperature of 36.4C. The findings, published in the journal Ergonomics, could help to inform the design of more comfortable and productive office spaces.

The researchers said: “Indoor temperature has a critical impact on the performance of office workers. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of indoor temperature on work performance through subjective assessments, neurobehavioural tests and psychological measurements. The study showed that the effect of indoor temperature on the test tasks varied greatly and depended on the task type. The indoor temperature, thermal sensation votes and body temperature for optimum work performance were 17°C, –0.57, and 36.4°C, respectively. Work performance was positively correlated with thermal satisfaction votes and negatively correlated with sleepiness intensity.”

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