Occupancy Comfort: Cliché or Contextual?

Simon Ashman 2019

Simon Ashman
Consultant, Assurity Consulting
1st July 2019

The results of this study (published May 2019) show that performance in mathematical and verbal tasks is largely linked to indoor temperature. At higher temperatures, women performed better on mathematical and verbal tasks, while the opposite was observed in men.

The notion of this study has been observed for some time now, often jokingly referred to as the ‘Battle of the Thermostat’. However, significant investment is made by companies to ensure that all occupants of indoor environments are comfortable and productive. The indoor temperature at which optimum comfort and productivity is achieved may vary dependent on gender.

Section 7 of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states that the ‘temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable’. The HSE have guidelines as to the recommended lower temperature parameters. Conversely, no meaningful figure is given to the upper indoor temperature parameter, only that employers have an obligation to ensure that it is ‘reasonable’.

Occupancy comfort is a significant parameter when considering employee satisfaction with their workplace environment, as well as enhancing productivity. The study concludes that mixed gender workplaces may be able to increase overall productivity by setting the thermostat higher. Although this is an interesting concept, there are a number the other factors that contribute to occupancy comfort: airflow velocities, light levels, relative humidity, and Carbon dioxide to name a few.

If you are concerned about occupancy comfort in your premises, Assurity Consulting can carry out a Workplace Environmental Assessment. This assessment can help to identify problems in occupied areas and provide expert solutions. No need to get ‘hot under the collar’ about occupancy comfort!