Feeling Blue this Monday? Why no one can agree on the office temperature!
Let’s be clear, Blue Monday is just a phenomenon created off the back of a marketing campaign by Sky Travel in 2005. Yet we seemed to have adopted it in the UK as the most depressing day of the year, when the reality is we can feel blue at any given point in the year and it is OK to feel that way.
So I would like to interpret Blue Monday differently and talk about feeling blue in a different way. Let’s talk about temperature in the office. Why do some people always feel blue- cold and others always feel red-hot. Why can we never seem to please everyone? It is a constant battle to keep everyone happy.
Our bodies automatically regulate our body temperature to keep in the narrow range of 36-38 degrees. When we feel too hot or too cold it impacts mood, performance and productivity- so it really is a workplace wellbeing issue.
I have always been the hot-blooded person. Since a child I always remember asking the teacher at school to open the windows and the door. On the train into London I am always opening a window, even when it is cold outside (after checking with the person directly below it if it is OK and praying they say yes!) But temperature regulation in the office is a whole new ball game… when you are cold it is hard to concentrate, uncomfortable and miserable…but at least you can put some layers on. But when it is hot, clearly you can’t strip off! I find hot offices stressful and claustrophobic. So what is the solution to keep everyone happy?
The WELL Building Standard, which is the world’s only certification system that focuses solely on enhancing human health and wellbeing, identifies temperature as one of leading causes of discomfort at work. It acknowledges that there are lots of personal and environmental factors, such as air speed and metabolic rate, all contributing to a person’s subjective thermal comfort levels.
In order to achieve comfort for all, the WELL Building Standard takes a holistic approach and has multiple solutions in place to improve people’s mood and performance at work. One of the best things a business can do is introduce “free address”. This is a solution which allows people to choose where they sit on a day to day basis. Accredited WELL buildings have different temperature zones, allowing for at least a 3-degree gradient across an open workspace so that people can find a place to work at a desired temperature to optimise their comfort levels. Access to personal comfort tools such as blankets and fans are also a great way to keep people comfortable.
Businesses will not only reap the benefits of happier and more productive employees but moving seats means there will be plenty of new relationships formed and new ideas born. A win-win all round.
Happy Blue Monday!
By Jen Christie
Workplace Wellbeing Consultant
High Performance & Wellbeing Coach at The Conscious Coach
BSc Sport & Exercise Science
WELL Accredited Professional
Mental Health First Aider