In a recent study commissioned by HSS Hire, the leading national supplier of tools and equipment, it was revealed that UK office workers are only fully productive for three days out of the working week. However, during sweltering weather, productivity falls even further, plummeting to a mere two-and-a-half days. The research, conducted among 2,000 office workers, identified various factors that hinder productivity, with a poor night’s sleep topping the list as the biggest cause of an unproductive day.
The study shed light on the daily challenges faced by office workers, with being too hot in the office and distractions from chatty colleagues among the top culprits for reduced productivity. Technical glitches and IT problems also contribute to getting less work done, along with the aftermath of indulging in one too many drinks the night before. Feeling hungry at work and personal issues weighing on the mind further add to the struggle.
Respondents disclosed that fatigue sets in around two days a week, and an alarming four out of five confessed to indulging in clock-watching, wasting an average of 55 minutes over the course of a week. These insights demonstrate the impact of personal well-being on overall productivity, suggesting that factors like temperature, sleep quality, and general comfort play a crucial role in workplace efficiency.
One notable finding from the research is that office temperature remains a contentious issue, as seven in ten participants admitted to having had heated disagreements over how hot or cold the office should be. When the mercury rises, tensions seem to follow, with forty percent of workers believing their colleagues become less productive, and an equal proportion thinking their co-workers grow more bad-tempered. Surprisingly, one in ten even noticed increased flirtatious behavior among colleagues during sweltering days.
Despite the disruptions and discomfort, office workers acknowledge their own moments of unproductivity. During a typical day, 15 minutes are spent gossiping with colleagues, 14 minutes are squandered on non-work-related internet browsing, and eight minutes are dedicated to making beverages for co-workers. Notably, Friday emerges as the least productive day of the week, while Tuesday takes the crown as the most productive day.
The study also delved into specific times of day when productivity peaks and declines. On average, respondents claimed to be most productive at 10.23 am during a typical workday, while productivity slumps to its lowest point at 2.02 pm. These insights could encourage employers to consider optimizing work schedules or providing breaks during the least productive times to foster better outcomes.
Moreover, the research found that approximately half of those surveyed believe that a colleague has covertly adjusted the air conditioning without notifying anyone. This issue seems to cause more discord when the temperature rises, with two in five respondents perceiving their colleagues as less hardworking during hot days.
As temperatures soar, work attire also tends to become more casual, with half of the respondents observing co-workers dressing inappropriately when the sun is out. A quarter of workers opt for vests, one in four wear flip-flops, and 17 percent brave the controversial choice of wearing crocs to the office.
The study shed light on the number of productive hours during a typical working week, averaging 22 hours and five minutes – approximately four hours and 25 minutes per day. In contrast, during hot weather, productivity dips to 19 hours and seven minutes per working week, equivalent to three hours and 49 minutes a day.
Despite the impact of temperature on productivity, the study revealed that around half of office workers face resistance when requesting air conditioning to be turned on. Shockingly, a fifth of workers encountered bosses who adamantly refused to install air conditioning, despite 60 percent of employees agreeing that reduced productivity during stifling conditions is acceptable.
According to the survey, four out of five office workers admit to experiencing heightened stress levels when faced with hot office conditions. Even more concerning, one in five workers revealed having no air conditioning at all in their workplace.
The research indicated that 27 degrees Celsius is the temperature threshold beyond which workers find it too hot to concentrate and be productive. Furthermore, over three-quarters of participants believe that shorter working days during stifling weather could improve overall productivity and well-being.
The spokesman for HSS Hire emphasized the importance of addressing the factors that hinder productivity and well-being. Cool air-conditioned offices were found to be linked to increased productivity, lower stress levels, and greater overall job satisfaction. Taking care of personal well-being, ensuring comfortable office conditions, and providing necessary tools and equipment are crucial steps that employers can take to enhance workplace productivity and employee morale.
The study’s findings should serve as a wake-up call for employers to recognize the multifaceted nature of workplace productivity and explore measures to optimize working conditions, especially during hot weather. By fostering an environment that prioritizes employee well-being and comfort, businesses can undoubtedly pave the way for increased productivity and a happier workforce.