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Temperature impacts workplace productivity too

If you’ve ever had an ongoing thermostat battle with a colleague or been forced to outfit yourself depending upon the boss’s fluctuating comfort zone, then you’ve experienced the frustrations associated with workplace temperature issues. However, this constant climate conflict becomes more than a pesky annoyance when it impacts overall productivity.

Your work area temperature can have a huge impact on how productive you are. The study shows that productivity drops by as much as four per cent per degree when temperatures rise above 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) in workplaces requiring manual labour. In highly automated settings, this effect was not observed.

Less productive workers mean a less productive business, and a less productive economy. To determine if the declines in worker productivity decreased the output of factories, the researchers looked at data from almost 70,000 plants across India. They found that the value of output declined by about three per cent for every degree above the average temperature. This loss is large enough to explain the entire reduction in India’s economic output in hot years.

To sustain and grow worker productivity, businesses and governments must adapt to climate change. Climate control, such as air conditioning, is an expensive solution and may still be only a partial fix. In the long-run manufacturing sectors may migrate to cooler climates, or automation may increase to make up for less productive human employees.

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