Have you ever worked in an office where half of the team are sat by open windows in short sleeves, complaining they're too warm, while the other half are sat next to the portable heater wearing jumpers and shivering? I have. It can be really annoying having to keep getting up to open/close windows and turn the heating on/off when no one seems to be able to agree on the ideal temperature. Our comfort at work matters and it makes a big difference to our productivity (if you've ever nearly nodded off in a meeting because it was so warm then you'll know exactly what I mean!).
But did you also know that the temperature of the room you're in can affect your health? There's something to tell Julia from Accounts, when she insists on turning the heating up further! It's also why there's legislation about workplace temperature. A room that’s too warm can cause problems, such as eczema, lethargy, poor concentration, disturbed sleep and fatigue, not to mention wasted money on excessive heating bills. If the room is too cold the body becomes more susceptible to respiratory diseases, therefore increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack or hypothermia.
At this time of year, many winter related illnesses are caused by a gradual drop in temperature over a sustained period of time. This is particularly a problem for older people in their homes, as their bodies do not respond as well to temperature changes, and many may not even realise that the drop in temperature is causing damage to their health.
In the UK, the ideal temperature for the home is defined as 21°C in the living room and 18°C elsewhere in the house. Many new mums will have a thermometer in the nursery to check that baby isn't too cold or too hot, but given the impact room temperature can have on our health, perhaps we need to take a similar approach in our homes and workplaces.
I use a GroEgg in our son's room, but on a shelf in our living room, we use ETI's (Electronic Temperature Instruments Ltd) Comfort Thermometer (£12.60, ETI at Amazon.co.uk). This way, even when I'm perfectly warm from rushing around doing housework, I can still check that the room isn't too cold for my 88-year-old father, or too warm for my 1-year-old to take a nap in. As well as being able to show the temperature in Centigrade and Fahrenheit interchangeably this thermometer also has the handy feature of checking humidity levels. Recommended humidity in the home is between 30-50%. If humidity is too high, you might have problems with mould, damp and a higher risk of illnesses such as respiratory infections and asthma. Another handy feature is the ability to store the maximum and minimum readings, so you can get some idea of how much the climate of your living space changes throughout the day.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by ETI. As always, my opinions and research are my own.