What Temperature Should I Have my Office A/C Set At?
Of all the possible office disputes, ones that concern the thermostat tend to come up most often. According to a Career Builder survey, 19 percent of all workers have secretly changed their office’s A/C settings, and 15 percent have clashed with a co-worker over temperature. It may seem as though the battle is inevitable; however, there are some ways you can keep everyone happy without busting your company’s energy budget.
OSHA Temperature Recommendations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not regulate office temperature, calling it merely a “matter of human comfort”. They do however recommend temperature settings of between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s quite a bit of difference, so how do you choose the right setting?
One way is to begin at the higher end of the spectrum and gradually adjust your thermostat by one degree until you find the optimum temperature for most of your employees. Keep in mind that the perfect temperature will likely depend on the makeup of your workforce. Consequently, it could vary significantly if you operate in more than one location.
As an example, women have a lower metabolic rate than men and are therefore more susceptible to cold. Accordingly, you can likely set your thermostat higher if the majority of your workplace is female. The same is true if you have a number of employees age 55 or older, regardless of whether they are men or women.
Your thermostat isn’t the only setting you should be concerned with, as the humidity levels in your office will largely determine how hot or cold people think it is. If humidity levels are high, your workers will feel as though the office is hotter than it actually is. So you could need to set the temperature a few degrees cooler in order to compensate.
OSHA recommends humidity levels of between 20 and 60 percent. Here at South Jersey Heating and Cooling, we feel a setting of between 30 and 40 percent is ideal for our area. To achieve this level, you could need to use a dehumidifier during summer, then allow us to install a humidifier for the winter months. Not only will this improve indoor air quality, but you should notice an increase in production, as well.
Let’s face it – there’s probably no way you will make everyone in your office happy all the time. Even so, there are a few things you can do to help workers feel more comfortable regardless of what your temperature settings are. A few ideas you may want to implement include:
- Relaxing your dress code during the summer months
- Adding window blinds that can be lowered or raised based on the time of day
- Installing plenty of fans, or encouraging the use of desktop fans
- Adjusting work schedules to earlier morning or later evening hours if possible
- Rearranging furniture to optimize air flow
- Using taller furniture such as bookcases to create “hot and cold zones” that will maximize individual comfort.
Schedule a Tune-Up
When your air conditioner isn’t maintained properly, you’ll need to adjust its settings lower in order to feel cooler. Not only does this increase your energy bill, but it will also make your system work harder. So you could notice more repairs bills over its lifespan too.
On the other hand, a well-maintained unit will operate more efficiently at a higher setting. As such, you’ll be able to save money while keeping your employees cool and comfortable. And you’ll hopefully avoid any disputes over temperature settings in the process!
If you’ve been putting off A/C maintenance, now is the time to schedule yours. Contact South Jersey Heating and Cooling today to set up your appointment.