My Work Area Is Too Cold!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about temperature:

I’ve been at a new office job for approximately 9 months. I work in a government office next to the room that houses our company’s computer server. The air conditioner feeds both my office and the server room so they want to keep it at 62-68 degrees everyday. That’s just too cold for me! I have a space heater at my feet, but my upper body and hands are freezing, and my feet & legs are burning up.There is room across the hall, in another office, to move the three people in our office but the head boss doesn’t think the cold is that big a deal. This environment is becoming unbearable – what can I do? The extreme cold is also affecting my osteoarthritis. I hurt!

Signed, Freezing

DearĀ Freezing:

I too worked as a Federal Employee and can identify with your situation. In several positions over my 31-year career, I found myself in environments that were either too cold or too warm.

Even with management support, which I was fortunate to have, it is often difficult to make the wheels turn to correct the problem.Several strategies that you might explore to convince your boss that this is a “big deal” are: Enlist the assistance of the other workers in your office to voice their concerns. Provide management with a floor plan of the alternative workspace across the hall and include a list of any advantages to the organization, such as improved productivity, better employee morale etc. Try to use objective data as much as possible. Gather data on the temperatures in other work areas in your building and question why the 3 of you are expected to work in a significantly colder environment than others. Check with Engineering/Facilities Management about other possible solutions that might be viable.

Check with your physician about getting documentation from him/her concerning the effects of temperature on your osteoarthritis. Within your organization, check with Personnel Health, Human Resources, and EEO personnel about if and how they may assist you and your fellow workers. Enlist the assistance of the local union, if one exists, in voicing your concerns to management. I would try these strategies in the order that they are listed in order to convince “the head boss”, of the problem and its impact on you and your fellow employees. Good luck in your efforts, as I know that this problem can pre-occupy anyone working under these conditions and impacts productivity and morale.

Kolman Rosenberg, Guest Respondent Performance Consultant and Trainer The Workplace Doctors Creating a workplace with a WEGO spirit is an on-going process.

William Gorden