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Warm Offices Boost Productivity 520

bluelip writes "It looks like the real reason for offshoring is corporations looking for warmer weather. Instead of paying the energy bills to crank up the heat in the office to a more productive temperature, the offices are moving to warmer areas. This article shows a 44% error reduction and 150% increase in productivity for those working in warmer offices. Will this increase in output be enough to convince my boss to pay for us to vacation-commute from a tropical island?"
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Warm Offices Boost Productivity

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  • Too warm? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tomahawk ( 1343 ) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:56AM (#10586887) Homepage
    68F = 20C
    77F = 25C
    (for those of use that use Celcius)

    25C/77F is very warm. I prefer to work around 21C/70F. Any warmer than that and I'd be falling asleep. Certainly /my/ productivity goes way down when I'm asleep.

    T.
    • Re:Too warm? (Score:3, Interesting)

      I get tired faster when it's warm. Also, my contacts tend to start losing focus, which happens when I'm very tired - so I feel like sleeping.

      I work best when it's cooler - about 65-68. I also prefer a darker environment and plenty of rest. Since I'm a night owl, trying to force my sleep rhythm to match the office hours isn't very productive.

    • I prefer to work around 21C/70F. Any warmer than that and I'd be falling asleep.

      Yeah, I was about to write the same thing and it's already at the top. If it's sunny and I'm outside, 77F is ok, but inside an office at that temp and I may as well unroll the thermarest.

      In meetings it's especially true-- if it's any warmer than 70 it's really hard to stay awake.
    • In my lab it's often below 17C / 62F or above 27C / 80F.

      No wonder it takes us so long to graduate...

    • by TrentL ( 761772 )
      77 is horrible if you're wearing a T-Shirt, a dress-shirt, and a tie. Keep it at 70 or lower. If people are cold, too bad: they can wear more clothes. People who always bitch about it being "too cold" and try to get the temp increased are one of my big pet peeves. My dorm rooms were always scorching, even in the winter. Damn Temperature Fascists.
      • by cyberlotnet ( 182742 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:19AM (#10587330) Homepage Journal
        I agree with you 100%

        My motto is very simple

        When its cold you can always put on more clothes.
        When its hot you can only take off so much before your arrested!
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:32AM (#10587511) Homepage
        People who always bitch about it being "too cold" and try to get the temp increased are one of my big pet peeves.
        and it's ignorant clods like you that make my GF's work life difficult.

        she has Reynauds, a condition tha tcan cut off the circulation in her fingers if exposed to low temperatures... Yes a half hour in of 67 degree temperatures WILL trigger this condition. Many other people also have circulation problems.

        Her last boss was so stupid that it took us filing for disability for her on his ass as well as a lawsuit on him for creating a hostile work environment before he turned the temperature back up to 70.

        Maybe these people "bitching" have a real reason.
        • It is not just Reynauds disease.

          If you have had a burn or freeze above 2nd degree on more then 30% of your hands you will have similar problems. Under 20C you are likely to start experiencing pains in your hands after less then an hour of typing (speaking out of personal experience here).

      • Are you all insane?? (Score:4, Informative)

        by itistoday ( 602304 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:44AM (#10587709) Homepage
        Here in Florida I'm lucky if my AC can handle keeping the temperature at 78! For us, 85 is warm, and 75 is a comfortable cool. You pampered bastards...
    • Snooze (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:20AM (#10587347) Journal
      I had an astrophysics prof in college from India who said in class, I kid you not, "It is very warm in here. It puts you to sleep. Maybe that is why the cooler northern countries have been historically more advanced industrially." Dunno if there is any truth to that but it certainly woke me up.
      • Re:Snooze (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cmburns69 ( 169686 )
        I think the reason that the northern countries are historically more advanced in industry is because of the season cycle. In a tropical area, there is rarely a food shortage. You can harvest what you want, when you want it.

        In a cooler climate, where nothing grows during the winter, you'd better have that supply of food built up-- Or you'll starve. It's a simple matter of necessity.

        However, when my fingers are cold, I cannot type very well. But when they're warm, they just fly across the keyboard!
        • Re:Snooze (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:24PM (#10588265)

          Whether the root cause is food or not, I don't know, but in Britain, labour was relatively expensive, wheras in India, labour was cheap.

          So, if you're running a textile business, and you need to power a fabric loom, you have India do all the work with their manual looms and skilled workforce.

          Domestic work would of course be more profitable, but there aren't nearly as many skilled people working the looms in Britain.

          Slavery inhibited this need in the Roman empire, but in Britian, it was nowhere near as prevalent... not enough slaves.

          ...so somebody figured out that you could get more work out of people if you began using water-powered looms, then steam powered looms, then you used British government to restrict the sales of cheaper and superior Indian textiles, finally forcing Indians to buy more expensive, inferior textiles from Britain...

          Slavery might have inhibitied this need in the Americas, but one thing came with the American conquerors that the Romans never had... guns. The development, sale and distribution of firearms was a technological boon for the Americas. Then came the railway... this covered the creation of a coal-engine-fine machinery industry across the country which could be tapped for both skills and resources to create new technologies like the wireless and so forth.

          When the British machinery was used in the U.S., the need for slavery or slave-wages was reduced and eventually eliminated, only the most unscrupulous designer labels practicing slavery or wage-slavery today.

          But food probably does play a part in dictating why there was so much cheap labour in India v.s. Britain, it's tough to say... it's just as remarkable to look at why Rome didn't develop modern technology as why Britain and the Americas did.

      • If that were true, then why isn't there a corresponding set of industrially advanced countries in the cool south?
    • Re:Too warm? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Larsie ( 740598 )
      This is completely counter-intuitive. Scandinavian employees are much more productive than their mediteranean counterparts.

      I myself prefer a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius.
    • Re:Too warm? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dOoDuStInK ( 824147 )
      2 comments

      1. Honeywell, top maker of vac units and controls recommends temperatures of 76-78 degrees for low-activity office environments; check out the website they offer a very handy climate tool. This is also right on keel with the energy department's guidelines.
      2. How many of the people complain that this is too warm:
      a. are overweight, or
      b. smoke, or
      c. drink warm beverages and not the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, or
      d. have high blood pressure, or
      e. feel sleepy because they aren't
      • by egomaniac ( 105476 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:49PM (#10590604) Homepage
        2. How many of the people complain that this is too warm:
        a. are overweight, or
        b. smoke, or
        c. drink warm beverages and not the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, or
        d. have high blood pressure, or
        e. feel sleepy because they aren't getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep at night, or
        f. not interested in what they are doing enough to stay awake.


        a: no
        b: no
        c: the 8 glasses of water a day thing is an urban legend [snopes.com]
        d: no
        e: no
        f: no

        And yet I'm comfortable at 70F and miserable at 78F. Furthermore, if you're cold, you can dress warmer. If I'm hot, my options are much more limited -- stripping naked at one's workplace tends to have negative repurcussions.
  • I work much better at cooler temperatures and sit and do nothing when it gets warmer.
    • It's worth pointing out that perhaps the most productive university in the entire world in the field of astronomy is the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

      It is just a coincidence? Astronomers/Astrophysicists always seem to know where to build the best ground-based telescopes (Hawaii, Chile, the Canary Islands...)
      • Astronomers/Astrophysicists always seem to know where to build the best ground-based telescopes (Hawaii, Chile, the Canary Islands...)

        Do you think this might have anything to do with the clear skies, and lack of nearby cities (light pollution)?

        But you are right - maybe a warmer climate would increase productivity too. It would at least make people feel happier. I'm looking out at the rain outside my window, and thinking that I have to go home in that very soon.

        T.
    • If temperature was the pprimary concern, all those businesses would just relocate to south Texas, New Mexico, Alabama, etc.

      And a *lot* of us don't want it that warm. If it gets above 74 or so, most of the people in our office get sluggish.
      • Hey, there's nothing wrong with the fact that it's still shorts weather right now (San Antonio, today's high 91)

        Where I am, we keep our office at about 71, which is a good working temp. Too warm and we fall asleep, too cold and our fingers can't move to type.

        Also I don't know of a single building in SA (or other warm area) that doesn't have some form of HVAC, it's nessecary down here, so temps in the office are arbitrary. Maybe that's why warm areas are better because they can better control the temp and
    • by LiENUS ( 207736 ) <slashdot AT vetmanage DOT com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:03AM (#10587022) Homepage
      When temperatures are colder im concerned with warming up, not with working. I think the idea behind this article is you work better in a more comfortable office, not that the more you crank up the heat the more you work.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman@gmail . c om> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:58AM (#10586920) Homepage Journal
    ...but it does nothing to help with cold fingers. And when my fingers get cold, they get stiff. When my fingers get stiff, I can't type as well.

    Common sense, really.
  • Warm??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by strictfoo ( 805322 )
    Were they studying offices full of women only? Seriously. Women love to play with the office furnistat, even if they've been told not to 100 times.

    The worst thing in the world is to be working in an office that's too warm. It's just horrible.

    Here's a secret people: if you're too cold, wear warming clothing! If I'm too hot, I can't take off all of my clothes (and keep my job).
    • Re:Warm??? (Score:5, Funny)

      by gclef ( 96311 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#10586978)
      Add another problem: warmer temps mean lighter/less female clothing. The effects of this on male productivity should be obvious.
      • lol.
        Warmer temps = tendency for people to get sleepy. The reason optimal temperature is around 69-72 is that a cooler temp will help keep people awake.
        Again, those that are cold can always add more clothing, those that are warm can only take so much off....I do not think it would be appropriate to come to the office in a bathing suit and t-shirt.
    • Sexism aside, you make a good point. If you're cold, it is very easy to warm up - put on warmer clothing. If you're too hot, there's not much to be done. Seems pretty simple to me...
    • Re:Warm??? (Score:3, Informative)

      by gosand ( 234100 )
      Were they studying offices full of women only? Seriously. Women love to play with the office furnistat, even if they've been told not to 100 times.

      What is even worse is when someone (I won't say women) adjusts the thermostat in the computer lab because they are too cold. Computer labs are SUPPOSED to be cold. You crank the ambient temp up to 75 degrees F and you are asking for trouble with the servers. It is amazing that some people in the software industry don't realize this.

    • Re:Warm??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:38AM (#10587582) Homepage
      The funniest thing about that? Most office thermostats are placebos [careerjournal.com].

  • Does this study take into account the lost productivity due to taking naps in the stiffeling heat?

    Cooler temps = more alert workers. (lots of Hot coffee to 'warm-up' helps too!)

  • by theluckyleper ( 758120 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:59AM (#10586929) Homepage
    Or perhaps Canadians should just wait for global warming to kick in, and reap the 44% in error reduction rewards!

    Go burn those fossil fuels, Canucks!
    • At least there's a good side to Dubya getting re-elected. Four more years of him gutting the clean air act and every environmental law on the books, and we'll be reaping the benefits of 44% error reduction (hopefully enough so that we can figure out the ballots and vote for the Democrat instead of Pat Buchannon)
  • And I am happy with my 67F that my house sits at!
  • Stupid study (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Studies like this are as old as the hills, but horribly inaccurate.

    In the end, if you wish to increase productivity dim the lights. And monitor the results, productivity will go up. Increase the lighting a week later, productivity will again go up. Keep this up until productivity exceeds 100% efficiency.

    I'm only half kidding.
  • The Suits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dykofone ( 787059 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:59AM (#10586942) Homepage
    I always assumed offices were so cold to keep all of the "suits" comfortable as they went about their corporate level day. I know I'd certainly be sweating having to wear a coat inside while showing some Japanese investors around.

    Which is why I doubt the AC is gonna be lowered anytime soon. It would be a battle between HR and upper management, and while certainly a glorious battle it would be, uppper management usually wins.

    • Re:The Suits (Score:3, Insightful)

      by terrab0t ( 559047 )

      Suit wearers are definitely one group keeping the temperature set low, but there is a larger factor at play.

      I think the major reason offices are intentionally kept cold and drafty is that the vast majority of office workers drink coffee. I've worked in several different offices, some large, some small. I was always getting cold sitting still in my chair all day and ended up wearing several layers of clothing. I actually kept a sweater at the office because I didn't need it anywhere else. I eventually real

  • by Egonis ( 155154 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:59AM (#10586943)
    I am quite the opposite, as warm or hot weather makes me unable to focus...

    Between 18 and 16 Degrees Celsuis are perfect for me, then again, I do live in Canada.
  • 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slimak ( 593319 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:59AM (#10586952)
    At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time...

    100% of the time? Does this seem a little high to anyone else? Don't people take breaks for bathroom, /., etc?

  • That's it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rorschach1 ( 174480 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:00AM (#10586966) Homepage
    I'm forwarding this on to my facility manager. It's freaking COLD in here! And it's not just in the winter that it's cold - it's ALWAYS cold in here. Someone decided to put a ton of servers in the next room, and the servers like it cold, but guess what? There's no way to isolate the two areas. Yeah, it affects productivity - we're always huddling around our space heaters shivering rather than typing.

    Oh, and now we're not supposed to have space heaters. Thank God for surplus AlphaServers...
  • You don't need to move - in most places you can simply turn down the air conditioning in the summer to save the energy for heating in the winter. It is more efficient to heat a room than to cool it anyway.

    It's hardly rocket science.

  • I'd also like to see the gender breakdown on this, from my experience women like warmer offices and men like colder offices. Since it is secreterial (sp?) skills I'm going to go with the generilzation that there are more women in the group and hence that may be why there is an increase with temp.
  • by Chagatai ( 524580 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#10586985) Homepage
    Will this increase in output be enough to convince my boss to pay for us to vacation-commute from a tropical island?

    No, but welcome your new office in sunny Bangalore, where the temps often exceed 100F and humidity reigns!

  • now our software sweatshops will involve actual sweat. sweaty programmers, ewwwww.

  • Seems like a pretty silly study without looking at the other end. What about 78 degrees? What about 80? Here in the South, we have more of a problem with it being too warm. I can't stay awake at more than 77 degrees. For working and sleeping, I do much better at 74. Sounds like half a study to me.
  • Way too hot! (Score:2, Interesting)

    At my job we must wear an undershirt and a dress shirt or polo or sweater. We also have to wear socks and shoes, never sandals, and are disallowed shorts. 25 C would be unbearable and would make most of us doze off. 20 C is much more acceptable. However, the women there complain that it's cold unless it hirts 27 C. Go figure.
  • Not me (Score:2, Funny)

    by moorcito ( 529567 )
    Warm office, bah. I get all my best work done in the deep freeze. Nothing like having your keyboard frozen solid to make you work extra hard typing that TPS report.
  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@noSPam.worf.net> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:03AM (#10587033)
    Then why do I have a bloody fan on my desk that's on all year?

    I don't know about anyone else, but a warm office really hurts my productivity. Heck, when the A/C goes out, I think more about the temperature than the job at hand. It's also unpleasant coming into the office after doing a little bit of exercise, and spending the next 20 minutes wiping all the sweat off. Plus, warm offices feel somewhat stuffy.

    Personally, I know some offices are nice and chilly, and it can hurt productivity, but too warm is probably a lot worse than too cold. (Too warm - get a fan - if you're still hot, tough. Too cold - a heater, sweater, anything - when you're warm enough (or feeling hot), take it off.

    Then again, maybe I'm weird to prefer cooler weather. Me, like airplanes, like cold air... not hot (and possibly humid) air.
  • I usually have a fan pointed at me at my desk. Sometimes I even need a light jacket with it on, but I like the cool breeze. Cool room and hot coffee makes for good coding.
  • What are these people wearing? T-shirt and shorts?

    Many workplaces require slacks and a collared shirt. Add an undershirt and I'm good for 70F.

    We had an issue with our AC for a while and had to deal with 80F temps. We complained and complained to get it to 70-72F.

    Isn't "room temp" 72F/22C ??
  • Warmer offices make people more productive? This is news?

    I'll bet next week there is a counter study that offices that are too warm exhibit a decrease in productivity too. Sheesh

    Anybody get the feeling that most research into working conditions is going to eventually rediscover common sense? Respect your employees, don't treat them like productivity units or morons, and don't subject them to unfavorable working conditions like poor equipment or temperature control. Guess what - they'll appreciate it a
  • This is old news (Score:5, Informative)

    by sckienle ( 588934 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:05AM (#10587058)

    From Article: When the office temperature in a month-long study increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output jumped 150 percent.

    This is a well-known phenomenon, first seen in the Hawthorne studies [analytictech.com]. One of the first productivity studies was in a factory where the researcher first reduced the light, and productivity increased; then the researcher increased the light, and productivity still increased. The end result is that worker productivity increased indirectly merely by changing the work environment.

    Maybe that's why we keep getting reorganized....

    • One of the first productivity studies was in a factory where the researcher first reduced the light, and productivity increased; then the researcher increased the light, and productivity still increased.

      So the most efficient environment is one with a flickering light?
    • by suwain_2 ( 260792 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:20AM (#10587351) Journal
      productivity increased indirectly merely by changing the work environment.

      I was actually wondering if anyone else had mentioned this, sometimes called the Hawthorne Effect. However, it seems you have the summarization a little wrong.

      It's generally believed that productivity didn't increase because their environment was changing; productivity went up because they knew they were being studied, and/or that management cared about them enough to look. Remember that the Hawthorne study was one of the forerunners in the wild new theory that increasing productivity might have something to do with employees, not machinery.

      It's not entirely unlike the placebo effect, although I'd stop short of equating the two.

      • It's not entirely unlike the placebo effect, although I'd stop short of equating the two.

        One way in which it differs is that the Hawthorne effect is somewhat more conscious. Workers know that working faster will lead to increased productivity. They consciously can change the outcome. A patient getting a placebo effect doesn't know what "muscles" he's flexing, or which attitudes he's affecting that are causing his healing to speed up.

        So in other words:
        Hawthorne effect: The subject knows he's being
  • I question the results of the study for several reasons:

    -My productivity / output do not corrolate to how much I type.
    -How much I type does relate to what projects I'm working on and what I have to do that day. Perhaps the people who typed more had assignments that month that required more typing.
    -68 degrees is comfortable for me. 77 is sweltering.
    -In warm offices, my productivity falls.
    -In warm offices, I get sleepy.
  • Around 88% of the productivity boost was attributed to the constant syncronized nagging from all the woman in the office decreasing at once when the temperature was raised. Male workers found they could get a lot more work done when not responding to "Isn't it cold in here" by the female workers throughout the day. And Female workers found they could get more work done when not nagging Male workers about how cold it was.
  • Here is a link to a site stating optimal office temperature between 69-73 degrees. Here [ccohs.ca]
    Now I did do a study in college (don't have the resources as it was a while ago) and I also came up with the statistic that 69 degrees is optimal. For those that are cold - you can always add more clothing, while those that are hot (typically men get hotter then women) can only take so much clothing off...especially in many offices where men are required to wear a shirt, tie and potentially a suit jacket.
    I try and ke
  • Me, I have a half-dozen computers sitting under my desk, all generating a lot of heat. If the ambient temp is too high, my legs are sweating and I'm falling asleep. So what's comfortable for those in a wide open reception area is roasting me alive in my cube.

    Until they can control the ambient temperature to small regions of each floor, let's keep the temp on the cool side; you can always put on a jacket.

  • by ThurstonMoore ( 605470 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:06AM (#10587094)
    I work in an office that gets very cold during the fall and winter and I have noticed that my typing speed decreases dramatically when my hands are cold.
  • I think one of the productivity killers is just how sweet some companies/campuses are. I've interned at microsoft three times now and I always found it hard to concentrate because the whole experience of being there was so very cool. I'm not diagnosed ADHD though as a tech geek I'm probably it to some extent, and being in that environment made it hard for me to buckle down and concentrate.

    I'm not saying that this should be removed from the companies, cause it's the major appeal of some places, but it's
  • I work all day in the server room at about 60F and can barely get anything done.
    All this time I thought I was just born lazy, but its actually the working environment.

    Thanks Science!

  • Sample size (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_twisted_pair ( 741815 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:10AM (#10587156)
    From the article:
    In the study, which was conducted at Insurance Office of America's headquarters in Orlando, Fla., each of nine workstations was equipped with a miniature personal environment-sensor for sampling air temperature every 15 minutes.

    Wow, what a meaningful sample size.

    That, and the references to keyboards and accuracy makes it sound like it's purely a study of a typing pool to me. Probably female, probably requiring little in the way of creative/critical thinking, just a cosy space to get on with the tiresome task of earning a dollar.

    This passes for 'research'...? Oh dear.

  • The article, and I did read it, said nothing about offshoring. You certainly don't have to move to a warmer climate to warm up the office a bit. I personally think the 77F mentioned in the article is too hot, but most offices I've been in keep the AC so cold that my fingers get stiff. The solution to cold offices isn't to move to the tropics, it's just to back off the AC a bit. I try to keep my office between 72-74F. Any warmer, and I start to get sleepy. Any colder, and my fingers start to turn blue.
  • It's 68 in here year round. During the summer, if they just set the AC to 74-75 it'd be more comfortable and I could spend less time shivering.
  • by wombatmobile ( 623057 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:11AM (#10587183)

    When the office temperature in a month-long study increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output jumped 150 percent.

    Those data don't warrant the conclusion "Warm Offices Boost Productivity."

    The improvement could simply be a result of the change. The gains might not be sustained over time. Lowering the temperature another 3 degrees six weeks later could also yield an improvement.

    A change is as good as a holiday.

    Warmth may seem great when you lack it but then the same can be said for coolness.

  • by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:12AM (#10587208)

    At one office I worked in, my hands would become almost immobile and typing was often difficult.
  • by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:13AM (#10587223) Homepage Journal
    I had this idea a while ago. That I should make a software company that has no office building. It would consists of a cabana, lots of really comfortable beach chairs, a big safe to store important stuffs in, and a wire box with network/server and a WAP. All the employees would lounge about by the pool, or in the pool with waterproof laptops, doing work and connecting via wireless.

    I mean seriously, what beats coding on the beach? And customers would love to do business with us even if we charged more than the competition. I think its a winner. Every day will be Hawaiian shirt day.
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:13AM (#10587228)
    sweatshops...hence the productivity increase.

  • Sedentary jobs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:13AM (#10587229)
    A sedentary job at 68degrees is a nightmare. Just cool enough to not have the shivers kick in until you have been chilled to the bone. The cold sort of sneaks up on you. I'd prefer 58, as the urge to grab a coat and a cup of coffee is immediate. Now when I moved furniture for a living, 68 was PERFECT weather (you had to actually do something before working up a sweat).

    I'd also guess that this study was comprised of mostly women. Women tend to be lighter (less body mass), and be comfortable at a slightly higher temperature than men. I would find 77 to be a sweltering hell after about 4 or 5 hours. Winter in my house is always interesting, as my wife wants the thermostat on 80 and I try to find a room with an open window.

  • by forgetmenot ( 467513 ) <atsjewell@gmail . c om> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:18AM (#10587314) Homepage
    In the new building where I work IT has it's own closed off area so we can work in peace and harmony. Only problem is, to save money, the CEO decided IT doesn't need it own thermostat. One half of the room is controller by a thermostat down the hall in the IT manager's office, and the other half of the room is controller by the thermostat on the other side of the building in the accounting department's office right under a heating vent. I tell you... we either freeze to death or sweat our guts out. One of the girls here generally moves into the server room to do her work during the winter. At any rate, I was pretty miffed about IT having to suffer like this - I've had a cold non-stop for about the past year and half - just to save a few dollars on building costs. I'm forwarding this article to the powers that be and hope they take it to heart before I die of pneumonia.
  • by overmeer ( 823768 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:18AM (#10587317)
    See this is why hawaiians can come up with things like a G4 emulator at 80% host speed.
  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:28AM (#10587455) Journal
    The responses on this thread just illustrate perfectly the degree of brainwashing of most Americans. The corporate regime has been able to get Americans to go along with the idea that everyone should spend their lives working hard just like little hamsters on their wheels, little rats running their mazes.

    Americans should see America as a business, but one where THEY are the owners, and not the worker drones. Do you see business owners worrying about how "productive" they are, about how many words per minute THEY type? Instead of worrying about helping the corporate plantation squeeze as much work as possible out of ourselves, we should be thinking about how America can be organized so that we have as little work to do as possible.

    Life is finite, people....
  • Quite the opposite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2.gdargaud@net> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:31AM (#10587490) Homepage
    I'm at my most productive when I'm in Antarctica [gdargaud.net]. I'm going to be a lone coder for the first winter over at Dome C [gdargaud.net], starting next months.
    • Err, hate to break it to ya chief, but Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means it is going to be summer there starting next month.
    • Wow, Antarctica, that's pretty wild.

      I'm currently working in the tiny island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Here, the temperature is seldom less than 23-25, and frequently warmer. Everyone here at the office is extremely productive.

      (Whoops, back in a second. There's someone selling green coconuts. Gotta get a drink....)

      Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yeah, productivity, right. Yeah it's great here in Vanuatu because

      Heh, sorry, got cut off by my boss. I'm heading out to the beach this afternoon, an
  • Hot Offices (Score:3, Informative)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:34AM (#10587523) Homepage Journal
    Too much heat gives me headaches and causes co-workers to spend time complaining its too hot.. Doesnt improve anything...

    "warm" as an abstract word is useless..
  • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:37AM (#10587573) Homepage
    There was a study decades ago where IQ tests were administered at different temperatures. It turned out we're smartest (as measured by those tests, anyhow) at about 45 degrees F, and decline above that.

    Then again, intelligence may not correlate with the urge to produce. Wasn't there that study out a few weeks back showing that monkeys were more "productive" at a repetitive task if their neuronal reward circuits were disabled? Those who still experienced the pleasure of reward would put off work until just before the reward was anticipated, while those without the pleasure would just keep working no matter when.

    So maybe warm = stupid = less feeling of accomplishment, but "paradoxically" if you're performing some drone task may make the boss very happy with the consequences.
  • You want warm? (Score:3, Informative)

    by boola-boola ( 586978 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:41AM (#10587648)
    Try moving to [central] Texas. I wear a t-shirt until early December often, and start wearing it again roughly March.

    Oh, and today we will have a high of 94F and 84% relative humidity.

    (I'd kill for a 70F or less office!)

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:43AM (#10587696) Homepage Journal
    We got plenty of heat and third world humidity. Shit we have vultures and snakefish, cousins marrying cousins, no shoes, poor people and the worlds best white trash rednecks too.

    Come to the Tarheel state. It's like Mumbai except the people don't speak English.
  • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:54AM (#10587847)

    One of my uncles was a union negociator. He was called whenever the discussions between management and unions went south and his job was to mend things.

    Once, he was called in a machine shop where workers had gone on strike after fighting with management over apparently irrelevant issues.

    After peeling the various layers of gripes, it became clear that tempers had flared for no real discernable reason. And then, my uncle noticed something: It was really warm in the floor (this was in the winter).

    It turned out that the temperature for both the machine floor and the offices were controlled by a thermostat that was in the office of the boss' secretary, an older woman who liked it warm.

    The thermostat was moved to the floor, the boss got a space heater for her secretary, and the work relationships improved markedly.

    So maybe this study is relevant for nine female underactive office clerks. But put machine shop workers wearing their full security attire in a 77F environment, and they will mill your butt off!

  • by IronChefMorimoto ( 691038 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:57AM (#10587887)
    Um, I officially want to call bullshit on this on behalf of all men on the planet stuck in offices that are blisteringly hot...because of women who DO NOT LIKE TO BE COLD.

    This study should've gone further and broken down the data on gender, because I have yet to find a guy in the various offices that I've worked in that thought the temps in the office were TOO COLD to WORK PRODUCTIVELY.

    On the contrary, I've had nearly drop-down-dragged-out fights with the ladies in offices where I've worked because of the thermostat. No -- I'm not a violent man -- I'm not putting smackdown on cold female co-workers. I'm talking about insidious "cold war" (no pun intended) tactics -- surreptitiously bumping UP/DOWN the thermostat on the way to the can; taking informal "polls" asking how COLD people think the office is; etc.

    The only way I've found to combat the never ending "cold ware" in my office is to basically lay down the equivalent of mutually assured grossing out. I basically tell the ladies in the office whining about the cold that I can either take of my shirt to stay cool and let them turn up the heat, or they can put on more clothing.

    Man boobs are a powerful weapon in the hands of the right male.

    IronChefMorimoto
  • by OutOfMyTree ( 810249 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:14PM (#10588100)
    Oh, come on, read the article. Who ever spends 100% of their time working if they can get away with working only 54% of the time? It looks like the workers in the experiment were trying to get their heating turned up, so they deliberately varied what they did to give the "results" that would get mangement to keep the place warmer.

    "At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate,"

    The workstations had monitoring equipment fitted, the people knew what was going on (well, you wouldn't miss the temperature varying from 68 to 77, would you) and they worked out an appropriate response. Well, nearly appropriate -- that 100% could only be believed by someone with a very pointy head or by someone in a very high ivory tower.

  • by OnanTheBarbarian ( 245959 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:45PM (#10588680)
    "It looks like the real reason for offshoring is corporations looking for warmer weather."

    Why does every third Slashdot story have to contain some sophomoric, contentious and/or unfounded sentence in the lead-in? These sorts of things generate, as a rule, a huge amount of off-topic flaming and often frame the actual article in question in a distorted light ("Ask Unix Co-Creator (sic) Rob Pike"). It'd be nice if there was a little less raw opinion and random editorializing splattered across the actual stories. It's only a few lines; for heaven's sake try to be a little professional.

  • by SergeyKurdakov ( 802336 ) <sergeyNO@SPAMsim-ai.org> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:31PM (#10590372) Homepage

    just before reading the article as far as I know not such warm climate is optimal :) see http://www.usaweekend.com/00_issues/000116/000116b iology.html [usaweekend.com]

    Pay attention to air quality. Cool, dry air, especially on your face, helps keep you alert, while heat and humidity make you drowsy. Studies show that mental performance, such as rule-based logical thinking, can be reduced by 30% at temperatures not even warm enough to cause sweating. So keep the room at 70 degrees, the average optimum temperature for mental work in the United States. (Not everybody shares the same optimal temperature -- some are "cold-blooded"; others are "hot-blooded" -- so you may need to adjust up or down.)

    see also http://schoolstudio.engr.wisc.edu/energysmartschoo ls.html [wisc.edu]

    Optimal Thermal Conditions Thermal comfort has been shown to influence task performance, attention spans and levels of discomfort. In general, historical empirical studies going back 50 years have indicated that temperatures above 80 degrees F tend to produce harmful physiological effects that decrease work efficiency and output (McGuffy, 1982). Thermal conditions are below optimal levels affect dexterity, while higher than optimal temperatures decrease general alertness and increase physiological stress. One researcher (Harner, 1974) when reviewing optimal temperature levels for the performance found that reading and mathematical skills were adversely affected by temperatures above 74 degrees F. Reading speed and comprehension were most affected by temperature. A significant reduction in reading speed and comprehension occurred between 73.4 degrees F and 80.6 degrees F. This researcher also found that achievement is mathematical operations such as multiplication, addition and factoring have been shown to be significantly reduced by air temperatures above 77 degrees F.

  • school (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rpillala ( 583965 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:47PM (#10590574)
    I'd like to see a similar study done for classrooms, especially now that all kinds of data is being gathered and "drilled down." Maybe it would convince my school to maintain a normal temperature in my frigid classroom. Actually my classroom is frigid when it's warmer out and hot when it's colder. The climate control has no middle ground. not that the little box on the wall in my room has anything to do with the temperature.

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