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Baby, it’s cold outside (and in the office): Employees urge bosses to allow home working

The cold snap is well underway and British employees are feeling the bite. Recent research from Office Genie has revealed over half (57%) of office workers believe they would be more productive working from home. This comes as a result of 50% of workplaces not handling weather complaints effectively.

  • 57% of workers believe they’d work more effectively from home in the cold weather
  • Despite this, only 6% of bosses encourage home working during cold snaps and half do not deal with temperature complaints effectively
  • 20°C is the ideal office temperature according to employees but HSE guidelines allow workplaces to be a mere 16°C

The cold snap is well underway and British employees are feeling the bite. Recent research from Office Genie has revealed over half (57%) of office workers believe they would be more productive working from home. This comes as a result of 50% of workplaces not handling weather complaints effectively.

In Office Genie’s survey of 1,105 British office workers, it was discovered only 6% of employers encourage staff to work remotely in the colder weather. Bosses are also reluctant to let employees work flexibly instead of freeze, with only 16% of companies adopting flexible working patterns in the colder months. Even simple provisions such as supplying additional heaters are not in place in 70% of offices - failing to comply to the government’s Health and Safety Executive’s advice.

HSE guidelines state workplaces shouldn’t dip below 16°C, but when Office Genie asked respondents their ideal office temperature, the resounding answer was 20°C.

To combat the cold, the following advice is given by the HSE:

  • Provide adequate additional heating (portable heaters for example)
  • Provide breaks in which employees can have hot drinks
  • Prevent exposure to cold through:
    • Designing processes to limit exposure
    • Reducing draughts
    • Insulating floors or providing suitable footwear if employees have to stand for long periods
    • Providing suitable clothing for cold environments
    • Adapt working patterns which allow employees to minimise exposure, things such as flexible working or job rotation

For more information on the above guidelines and research, please see Office Genie’s guide to minimum workplace temperatures.