Hot and Cold: How Your HVAC System Effects Worker Productivity

Have you ever stopped and wondered for a moment how the heating and cooling environment in your offices helps shape your bottom line? No? Well, it’s time to look into it.

Consider this:

A recent CareerBuilder study found that 53 percent of employees said they were less productive when working in an office that is too cold, and, on the flipside, 71 percent said they were less productive when working in an office that is too warm. That’s straight from the horse’s mouth!

A study conducted a number of years back by Cornell University suggested that a company with compromised environmental comfort was negatively effecting the cost of labor by as much as 10%.

“The results of our study also suggest raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour,” Cornell professor Alan Hedge said in a news statement when the results were released in October 2004. Hedge teaches design and environmental analysis.

The productivity effects of your organization’s HVAC system need to be taken seriously. There are myriad impacts including (but not limited to):

  • Performance decrease when too hot
  • Performance decrease when too cold
  • Performance decrease when air is polluted and unhealthy (for example: greater sick time/leave)
  • Performance decrease when HVAC environment runs loudly (due in part to lack of maintenance, age of system, etc.)
  • Performance decrease when equipment causes vibrations in building (also due in part to lack of maintenance, age of system, etc.)

In short, when your heating and cooling environment is healthy, your work force is healthy (literally and figuratively). When your work force is healthy, it’s better bet that your business is healthy as well.

For a full report on that study:


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