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Is There a Link Between Office Temperature and Worker Productivity?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Research has shown that office temperature is likely to influence worker productivity. Within a certain range of temperatures, workers typically are more productive. When an office is too hot or too cold, workers' productivity typically drops. What is considered the ideal office temperature can vary, but it generally is considered to be 70° to 73° Fahrenheit (21.1° to 22.8° Celsius). Some experts, however, believe that an office temperature as high as 77° Fahrenheit (25° Celsius) will result in the greatest productivity.

Test Results

Studies on the effect of office temperature on worker productivity typically measure such things as the workers' output levels, efficiency and accuracy. Research has shown, for example, that workers typing on keyboards usually are more productive and have fewer errors when the office temperature is 77° Fahrenheit (25° Celsius) than when it is 66° Fahrenheit (18.8° Celsius). Many studies suggest that workers are most productive when the office temperature is about 71° or 72° Fahrenheit (21.7° to 22.2° Celsius). Productivity tends to decrease more suddenly as temperatures decrease below 68° Fahrenheit (20° Celsius) and more gradually as temperatures rise past 75° Fahrenheit (23.9° Celsius).

Effects of Clothing

Some experts believe that the ideal temperature range can vary at different times of the year. One reason is because people typically dress according to the temperature outside, rather than the temperature inside the building where they will be. For example, people usually wear fewer and lighter clothes in the summer and more and heavier clothes in the winter. This can affect how hot or cold they feel at certain temperatures, so they might feel colder in the summer and warmer in the winter at the exact same temperature because they are wearing more or less clothing. The effects of this on the ideal office temperature, however, is generally considered to be small.

Importance to Businesses

Businesses might be concerned about how office temperatures affect worker productivity for several reasons. The main reason, of course, is that they typically want their workers to be as productive as possible during their working hours. If a business can do something to increase its workers' productivity, such as providing a work environment that is the proper temperature, it usually will want to do it.

Another reason why businesses might be concerned with office temperatures is the costs that are associated with heating or cooling a building. If a company is paying to heat or cool an office to a certain temperature that it doesn't realize will actually make its workers less productive, it could be costing itself money in two ways. A company could save money and help its workers be more productive by keeping the office temperature within the ideal range at all times.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon963582 — On Jul 30, 2014

I work in the spare bedroom of a condominium that's set up as an office. There are two computer stations in there and a full size Konica Minolta copier that would make Kinko's jealous. The other spare bedroom is set up the same way, but with four computers. It's cooler in there because there's no copier and because if we do get to turn on the A/C, the vent is lower. In my office, the vent is 12 feet up the wall!

My boss thinks she has some illness wherein she gets cold. It's all in her head, but we are made to suffer anyway. When you walk upstairs to the office (bedroom) you can feel a wall of heat hitting you in the face. I do have a fan, but it's hot as hell in there, and by 2 p.m. I start feeling nauseated. The heat in this house is left running 365 days a year (with occasional A/C interludes, of short duration) and in addition to the central heating, she runs two full size heating units every day. The A/C system is flawed, as it only cools the first floor, so we get about 1-2 degrees cooling upstairs.

It's nonsense that people have greater productivity at 77 degrees. The people in my office, and the clients who come in, are too distracted by feeling too hot to do anything else. 72 degrees would be fine, cooler would be better, but since we work for a dictator, these changes won't happen anytime soon. I'm sick of feeling nauseated and overheated, but jobs for people in my age group are difficult to find where I live.

And as for people who make cracks about menopausal women, don't worry, your time will come. You can always *add* more clothing, but it's really difficult to cool down when you are down to a lightweight shirt and cotton pants. There should be stricter laws governing this stuff.

By anon960533 — On Jul 11, 2014

It's amazing how some people are not able to reason that it is them, not others, who for some reason are getting too cold or too hot, when in reality the temperature is comfortable.

By anon960532 — On Jul 11, 2014

For an office, anything below 71 is too cold for most, while anything above 78 is too warm for most.

By anon960531 — On Jul 11, 2014

Things that could make you feel warmer than average: Synthetic fabrics, excess weight, high blood pressure, high salt diet, elevated sugar, hormonal changes (men also have fluctuations in their hormones), and being upset or rushing to finish a job.

By anon960529 — On Jul 11, 2014

There should be an anonymous ballot and everybody puts in a hat what temperature they prefer. Then count votes and take the average as the permanent temperature. This might not be a good method for offices with very few employees.

If where you work you're too cold so often that it's affecting your health, find a solution for it: thermal underwear, vitamin C, etc. If not, try to find another job, and ask about their temperature settings before accepting it.

By rockstar56 — On May 02, 2014

Here I go again researching this subject. I’m starting to conclude I simply like it cooler. I retired last year but my morning ritual when working in an office lab situation was to make coffee, then set up the floor stand fan right next to my chair. I can get uncomfortable even looking at people dressed in what would kill me. My weight isn’t an issue.

Why am I looking into this again? Well, it’s 72 out right now in Vancouver, Washington, and I’m sitting in a small room with the air on. I was just outside with a grandkid and he is wearing a hoodie. Maybe I'll move to the North Pole. --Keith

By anon943786 — On Apr 03, 2014

I work in a fast paced medical office that is heated to 75. Those of us running around like chickens without heads sweat buckets while lazy people sit around on their butts saying "Brrr" and complaining about being cold all the time. So annoying.

By MaryE2 — On Jan 03, 2014

So the building I am in runs fan air from the outside (50 to 70 degrees) alternating with heat from the boiler. Thermometer reads 75-76 and I am freezing, particularly my hands, which turn white. A co-worker moves temp near her desk all the way down, but I think mid-way would prevent the wide swings of temperature in the room. I've tried a heater in my cube, and the whole place is warmer and she is now opening outside doors. What can I say? Typing with gloves on is just miserable.

By anon360059 — On Dec 23, 2013

Seat people by temperature preference. Cold people sit on one side of the office with the heat on, hot people sit on the other side with the AC on, problem solved.

By anon352546 — On Oct 23, 2013

It is between 62 to 63 degrees where I sit on a daily basis! I have a coat, a blanket and a heating pad. It helps but then I have to get up to go to the printer every few minutes. This is highly inconvenient! My productivity really suffers. It is 55 degrees outside and they have the A/C on! Big corporate office. Temps are controlled by corporate. But this is ridiculous!

By anon339751 — On Jun 26, 2013

I work in an office in Dallas, Texas that keeps it at 82 degrees in July. I'm on fire!

By anon332036 — On Apr 26, 2013

I believe you can never satisfy all the people all the time. My office is too hot for my comfort. We keep the office at 23 and I sweat all winter. I live in northern Canada! I should never be hot in the winter. Our air conditioner has kicked in and the office is now at 22 and I think it's great. I am in a t-shirt and capris and sandals. Everyone else is wearing jackets and sweaters. What can you do?

By anon320923 — On Feb 20, 2013

We have seven people located in this office area of the company building. The temp reads 72-73 in winter at my desk.

I am a pretty moderate person. I adapt. It's been set at this temp for the past six years and my body is finally rebelling against it. In my opinion, I think a universal, general median office temp should be 70 in winter. We have like three or four sensors in just this small area and so we have one office at 70, which is perfect, and then everything else is at 72-73, I would guess.

I'm starting to get fungal infections under my arms because 72 is just too hot to work in. I do desk work. Currently, I'm wearing no socks, sandals and a short sleeved v neck T-shirt because I will get overheated and I have two small desk fans pointed at my armpits. 70 is an ideal temp for indoors in my extremely humble opinion.

By anon319553 — On Feb 13, 2013

I find the comments here about “menopausal” women who keep the thermostat turned down (apparently because they are having hot flashes) to be really snotty, ageist and misinformed. Every older woman isn’t going through menopause, and in my office, the older women are always cold.

I have noticed that the people in my office who are always cold are the ones who are out of shape and overweight, and they are men and women of all ages. I have also noticed that the people who are always cold are constantly drinking ice water and iced soft drinks. I am slim and active and my metabolism is high.

In the cold weather months, they keep the office thermostat at 77 degrees, which I find to be too warm. I go without stockings and wear short sleeved tops and skirts so I can feel comfortable. I prefer the temperature at about 70 degrees. In the summer, they crank the air conditioning thermostat down and I am the only one who doesn’t mind.

The facilities department controls the thermostats in our offices. They do allow workers to have space heaters, so the “cold” people are always running their heaters. I just wish there was a way to control the temperature to make it more comfortable for everyone.

By anon315760 — On Jan 25, 2013

I'm freezing to death. As soon as I enter my cube, I get goosebumps because the cold air just hovers in there. The hallway, the cube across from me, the bathroom, almost any other place are warmer than my cube. It's freezing. I'm miserable. It makes me feel sick.

By anon313820 — On Jan 14, 2013

This is my second winter working in an office where the thermostat is controlled by a menopausal woman. The first winter we were told that the heat was not going to be set over 55 to save money. When the summer came around, the A/C was run at full blast keeping the temperature in the low 60s. The cold is hard enough to take without being told it is to save money, when obviously it is solely for one person's comfort.

By anon312662 — On Jan 08, 2013

Just wanted to add that it is winter here and I just snuck in and turned the thermostat up to 68 degrees. Two minutes later, my boss came in and turned it back down.

By anon307320 — On Dec 04, 2012

@anon43098: Being overweight does not make you warm, just as being skinny does not make you cold. If you want to get slightly more scientific about it, generally 'skinny' people are warmer due to having a higher metabolism, where heavier set people are cooler due to lower metabolism and poor circulation due to heart problems, thyroid issues, diabetes and lack of exercise to name a few. So your statement runs along the border of uninformed.

Also, to the people who say, "you can put more on, I can't take more off". This is not actually true either. Wearing layers of clothes (when you do nothing but sit at a desk and type without moving all day) absolutely can cut off circulation. I know this to be true as I suffer from being cold all the time and have attempted to layer my clothing. My cold comes from suffering with fibromyalgia. I'm supposed to sit here and suffer with being cold that causes me an incredible amount of pain because you aren't comfortable attempting to compromise with other people in the office?

People just need to learn to be more flexible. This site is ridiculous.

By anon306598 — On Nov 30, 2012

It is 67º outside and raining. It is freezing in the office, and I would be OK if the heat wasn't turned on as long as the AC won't be turned on either. Of course, my boss, who is not overweight, turned the AC on, and I am typing with my gloves. It makes me scream inside. It is winter and there is no need for AC any longer.

These people turn their heat on at home when it is cold. That makes no sense. If they love it arctic, there should never be a heater, but they use it. Hypocrites. I just want it comfortable, not hot. I love walking into coffee shops, and it feels cozy. That is all I am asking.

By anon287392 — On Aug 25, 2012

My co-worker harasses me if I turn the air conditioner on at any time. The temperature in the office, according to the thermostat, is usually 80-84 degrees without the thermostat. She sits near the door and talks about how nice it is outside. I wear appropriate, casual office clothing for a Southern California office.

I sweat, get a headache and very sleepy. The boss and the co-worker (only three of us in the office) both justify the money savings of no a/c in that the thermostat is not really measuring the temperature where my desk is closer to the back of the office. I thank all of you for the unanimous blogging that 80 degrees and above is not normal in an office.

By MargoAZ — On Jul 15, 2012

I am always the "cold" one in my office. I know its me, so I wear more clothes and try to position my computer out off drafts and the air conditioning. I've used space heaters which keep my legs nice and warm, but my fingers are still freezing.

I found a Rā-Key, the Radiant Keyboard and Mouse Heater, which only uses 400 watts and has a built in timer. I have the permission from Management and Facilities to use it. I'm no longer the cold one in the office!

By anon276751 — On Jun 26, 2012

To be honest, I get irate when the menopausal women are the ones controlling the temperature. I'm a healthy woman in my thirties who dresses temperature appropriately. Why should I sit in an icebox because you're having a moment that will eventually pass?

I'm all for being understanding, but when your need to strip outweighs my lack of productivity because my fingers are clamped together, I think we should revisit the temperature control. You can always buy a fan. I can't use heaters because they cause fires when people leave them on, and they draw too much power.

By amypollick — On Apr 07, 2012

I can take the cold better than the heat. I can always put on a jacket, but heat gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.

Several years ago, when we could control the thermostat, one woman in the office, who is anemic and always freezing, had the thermostat on way up all the time. In mid-winter, I was wearing a heavy coat for outside, and a T-shirt for the office because it was so warm. No wonder the computers crashed all the time.

Neither extreme is fun, but I can take the cold. Heat makes me sick.

By anon259713 — On Apr 07, 2012

I've worked in offices so cold I had to wear fingerless gloves. It's really hard to turn pages when your fingers are that cold, too. Currently I work in an office that is most likely above 75 and I have to wear short sleeves as often as possible, even though it's only spring and chilly outside. Glad to know it's not just me though!

By anon242603 — On Jan 24, 2012

My office is also bitterly cold so I covered the ceiling vent with clear packing tape. This is the first day, so I hope it works.

By anon232411 — On Nov 30, 2011

No one has mentioned relative humidity in concert with inside temperatures. It can be 70 degrees inside but high humidity makes it a very uncomfortable 70 degrees. My suggestion is for new office buildings to install the venting system in the floors instead of the ceiling and if the budget allows, have each workspace built with temperature controls (lots of luck).

By anon202867 — On Aug 03, 2011

I work in and office that is not regularly heated and cooled. In the summer it will get over 90 and in the winter it will get in the 50s. When it's 90 in the office I don't find myself working too hard, it's just too damn hot and there's no effective way to cool down. At least in the winter I can wear long underwear and a sweater, the cool air also helps me stay alert and wide awake where the heat just makes me want to sleep. I do IT work and it's just not healthy to be working in 90 degree weather in a stuffy building!

By anon174201 — On May 09, 2011

We have an office of 50 people. 30 of them are almost every day in coats because - spring and summer- it is 66-68 inside (too cold if you have no circulation from working on a PC all day), and -winter - it is sometimes 50's inside because they want to save money. Then they heat full blast Monday and Tuesday to make up for the weekend.

Why, I ask, why? We compare the colors of our fingertips - purple to blue.

By anon163851 — On Mar 29, 2011

There is actually a ton of research that disagrees with this conclusion. The optimal temperature for worker productivity is usually in the comfort zone or slightly cooler than the comfort zone.

By anon156161 — On Feb 25, 2011

I have also seriously thought about looking for another job because it is extremely hot by my desk (which is also located by a copy machine). I feel sick almost every day.

By anon153223 — On Feb 16, 2011

I am a menopausal woman and I am about ready to scream because of the temperature in our office. It's always an ovenlike 75 to 80. I watch the women in my office shiver and say "burrrrrrr!" when the heater is blasting and the thermostat is at 80.

I don't get it and I am so tired of literally sitting at my desk and sweating in the middle of February. Someone should set that thermostat at 72 and lock it there. If you don't like it, put on a sweater. So disgruntled.

By anon143031 — On Jan 14, 2011

This study was conducted in Florida. People in Florida are used to putting up with temps in the 90s, so 77 degrees feels cool to them, while to people not in Florida, this would feel much warmer. Do a study in the North and see what you find.

By murphy2 — On Jan 10, 2011

I don't think that there will ever be a temperature that is acceptable to every one in an office setting. Frankly, I think 77 degrees is just a bit unrealistic to expect anyone to work in efficiently. I would be napping if it were that hot. People don't dress for the seasons when they work in an office. If it's winter you should be able to dress for it.

The problem is most women will wear a thin dress without a sweater and wonder why they're cold. So they expect I should remove my sweater because I'm hot. Doesn't make sense to me!

In this day of trying to conserve on unnecessary expenses for the use of electric and gas, I think a little more common sense should be applied.

By anon126859 — On Nov 14, 2010

I can commiserate with the people who are too hot at work. A few of my women co-workers regularly keep the thermostat on 75 degrees (at least). They will even turn the heat up this high in the late spring when it is gorgeous outside, and totally not necessary to have the heat up that high. I don't feel like this is a normal level of heat to deal with.

I'm relatively young and exercise regularly, so there is nothing wrong with my circulatory system. I'm tired of suffering because they are going through menopause and seem to suffer cold flashes in addition to hot flashes. They can put on damn sweaters.

I am so uncomfortably hot at work every day that it is starting to make me really angry. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I am considering finding a different job because the heat is making me ill. Why should the majority of people have to suffer just because a couple people have something wrong with their circulation?

By anon114700 — On Sep 29, 2010

I'm sitting here at work, freezing my butt off. It is 80 degrees outside and my office is 63 degrees. I love it warm, an I don't want to wear a jacket and ugg boots in the summer. My co workers love it cold but I always secretly boost it to 74 degrees. Actually one of my co workers right now is complaining that it is too hot in here. He always wears suits but our co doesn't require us to wear suits.

My productivity level at work is not good when it is cold. I have my AC vent closed and yet I'm still cold. I even went to the Chiropractor and he said my neck is swelling due to my work environment and I have extreme shoulder pains. This is not acceptable!

By anon111397 — On Sep 16, 2010

77 degrees my be OK for a woman who wears a blouse and comfortable pants or even a dress, but for a man in a suit with a tie on, it is a bit much.

71-73 would be much more tolerable and would force people to dress more appropriately for an office environment.

By anon93240 — On Jul 02, 2010

Adding clothes when you are cold to the bone does not make you warm. Adding a fan when you are hot will cool you off. I don't think the office should be hot, just comfortable for all not just some. Men should take off their jackets and menopausal women should put a fan on their desk. I have a heater at mine.

By anon87782 — On Jun 01, 2010

I fight over the temperature all day long. I like it between 71 to 73 degrees but the girl I work with would let it climb to 80 or 85 if I let her, and as soon as it gets to 75 she turns it off and it climbs to 78. Then I turn it on and she turns it off again. It's a living nightmare. I am always angry and wasting time like this typing about it.

By anon83313 — On May 10, 2010

I am sitting here staring blankly at my computer as my office thermometer tells me that it is 61 degrees in here. I have a sweater on and I have a snuggy blanket over that. It is almost summer like outside and I love wearing sandals but I go home with blue feet when I do. My productivity level. What productivity?

By anon79631 — On Apr 23, 2010

The ladies down the hall turn it up to 78F. The problem is I have three computers cranking and my office gets to be a fun 80 something. Do I feel productive? Hardly. I am more likely to go to sleep under my desk. Hmm. Thanks for the notion.

By anon79150 — On Apr 21, 2010

My coworkers keep the office temp so high (think 80+) that I keep two fans running at all times and don't turn on the overhead lights. I get headaches almost daily. I hate the heat and this definitely reduces my productivity.

By anon70151 — On Mar 12, 2010

My company keeps it at 78 degrees and that is too hot! I can't even enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning because I over heat! I can see my co-workers going to the beach in the summer time wearing winter jackets. I hate them.

By anon69473 — On Mar 08, 2010

I thought i was the only one -- 82 degrees and rising right now. I literally need to wear a diaper to contain the sweat. I am right by the thermostat and i just turned it down to a compromising 77 and took a pee and came back and it's cranked up again.

By anon56860 — On Dec 17, 2009

I work in an office that keeps the heat at 84 degrees. There must be a maximum heat recommendation somewhere. It is so hot, I and others feel ill. Also, at this temp, it seems it would cause people to fall ill more often, when it is 15 degrees outside.

By anon55360 — On Dec 07, 2009

Wow. I don't know who was complaining about the heat in PA, but I'm in a state office in PA (in December) and I'm freezing my tail off. It is not 68 degrees in here to say the least.

I don't care if it is a Monday morning. The building should be suitable for humans when the door opens. It is 9:30 a.m. and it is still cold. OSHA recommends 68 to 76 degrees, but does not enforce a "comfort" standard.

By anon54794 — On Dec 02, 2009

My answer to those in my office who are cold at anything less than 75 degrees is, "You can put on more clothing, I can't take any more off!" It's 78 degrees in the office, my fan is running on high, and the state I work for is going broke and laying people off.

Why is the office being heated to 78 degrees, when the state can't afford to waste money?

By anon51608 — On Nov 07, 2009

I don't know what you guys are complaining about. my boss keeps the thermostat set at 50-55 to save on heat, now that's something to complain about!

By anon49578 — On Oct 21, 2009

79 here today in the office. This is crazy. No one listens. Guess I will start stripping.

By anon48573 — On Oct 13, 2009

In PA it is currently 78 degrees in the office where I work. No one is happy. Way too warm and too many ladies in menopause here. I told my boss to fix it or off come the clothes. Oh yes. and we are all running fans at our desks. Very cost effective!

By anon47953 — On Oct 08, 2009

I work for a state agency and it's October in Pennsylvania, its not even cold yet. It's 74 degrees outside and 65 degrees in here, maybe even colder. we have on coats inside and didn't even wear them to get to work! It's ridiculous my employer said either the air is on or the heat is on -- either or. i just want the air off, we don't need heat yet. Employers are cold blooded creatures anyway.

By anon47687 — On Oct 06, 2009

I had to use a sick day because my office is so bleeping cold that I think I was getting hypothermia. I was shivering so bad and my fingers were so numb that I couldn't type. All that shivering made me so tired and weak. I had to go home. It's ridiculous. I wish we could sue the employer for it.

By anon43098 — On Aug 25, 2009

In reply to: "I feel 70 is not too cold if it's a large room full of workers. And if some of the workers are cold than they aren't working as hard as the ones that are hot. Size doesn't matter and that wasn't a nice coment." I should been more specific in my previous comment. There are about 15 of us in a very large 70 degree room. We are *not* allowed to get out of our chairs and move around except for two breaks and lunch. So we have no opportunity to move to circulate our blood. We sit perfectly still except for our hands on the keyboard. So in this case, size does matter, for the larger people have more insulation to keep them warmer. Everyone should be allowed to be comfortable. And FYI it's just as nasty when someone tells me to get some meat on my bones even though I am perfect size according to size charts.

By anon41535 — On Aug 15, 2009

I feel 70 is not too cold if it's a large room full of workers. And if some of the workers are cold than they aren't working as hard as the ones that are hot. Size doesn't matter and that wasn't a nice coment.

By anon41424 — On Aug 14, 2009

Our office is a constant 70 degrees all year round. I sit with a quilt wrapped around me. In fact, all the other 'normal' sized people are cold. Our boss puts it on 70 so she and the rest of the fat people can be comfortable. I think it should be a happy medium at least 72 - 73. My hands are so cold I cannot type fast.

By anon39939 — On Aug 05, 2009

There whould be a standard set range of, say 70-73 so no one can have their own personal comfort preference. Also, the temperature should be on display for all those that think or 'feel' that they are either too hot or too cold. The thermometer doesn't lie and always give an accurate indicator of the actual, real status.

By anon38906 — On Jul 29, 2009

Our office is 60 degrees and everyone is unhappy about it, except the one that controls the thermostat.

By anon31571 — On May 07, 2009

I just typed into a search engine "average office temperature" and this was the first article to pop up. The search began because my office is currently 77 degrees, my wpm drops when the office reaches this temperature because I am so warm that my fingers slip off of the keys. Thus I believe this study has obvious flaws. When will American companies value worker comfort and positivity over productivity? I wish to see this country become a tolerant and highly educated success, but turning up the heat is not the answer.

By samgeek — On Apr 14, 2009

Let me begin by saying our temperature here is *cold*: we wear 3 layers plus coats. In an office. Ridiculous!

That having been said, does this study take into account the workload, time of day, time of production cycle (wk, mo, year), or anything else? Past studies have shown that people are most productive in moderate (not cold, not too warm) conditions.

I would say a *lot* more work is required. But I guess it was a brief, entertaining article, eh?

By anon14401 — On Jun 16, 2008

What would be a solution for providing an individual employee with a non-electric, safe, economic heat source?

By anon11237 — On Apr 11, 2008

I have noticed that in our department when the temperatures are hot that productivity is down especially after lunch. The warmer the room the more tired the employees got. When we turned on the production went up.

By anon692 — On May 02, 2007

Is there a top temperature to work in an office? Seems good to know before we ask for help cooling the room down.

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