Does anyone know of some well written papers or research documents documenting that people working in doors on computers all day (programming as in my case), work better in quite cool environments. I would like some evidence to support my case that our office is too loud and hot.

I work in an open plan office (no walls) where there can be anywhere from 5-12 people, though in general they are quiet and don't really bother me (I have headphones if they get to noisy).

What bothers me is that our end of the office gets very hot, and I mean to the degree where I'm basically sweating all day long.

This would be because there are windows all round our end of the office and thus lets the sun.

I love the sun, I love that I can work in the sun (albeit through glass), as this is often the only time I get in the sun during the week.

But this also means the office gets quite hot, which is less then ideal.

I don't if it's just me, but I find I work faster and make less mistakes in cool, well A/C'ed environments.

The other end of the office is quiet and cool, but the rooms on that end are reserved for meetings, so I can't work there.

We have have windows but aren't allowed to open them (they are locked) due to the risk that someone might fall out of them... (we are quite high up)

I have asked if they could put clips on them, so people can't fall out, but they haven't done anything with it.

I can ask them again, but I don't think they see it as a big issue (they are in the cool, well A/C'ed rooms.)

But what really gets me is that they have put in an extra fan in our A/C system, which just makes extra noise and little to no different (You can barely feel air coming out of the A/C vents on the roof.)

So now we are hot all day long and have a noisy fan going all day long.

When I work late, and the A/C turns off, it's like a weight has been lifted off me. I can work so much easier and think so much clearer.

Basically what I'm asking is, does anyone know of some well written papers or research documents documenting that people working in doors on computers all day (programming as in my case), work better in quite cool environments.

So that I can hand this to my bosses, as I feel they will listen to this.

  • 15
    You don't need "research documents", you need a thermometer that tells anyone looking at it that it is too hot. :-) If it really is super hot, I am sure that you co-workers won't mind someone bringing a few box fans and resting them prominently in the walkways. Eventually somebody will get the message. But if you're the only one who is too hot, you're out of luck.
    – Angelo
    Aug 23, 2012 at 12:14
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    I don't have the research you're looking for, but I can assure you that you're not alone.
    – pdr
    Aug 23, 2012 at 15:09
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    Have you considered asking them to instal thermal window film? I'm sure that they aren't happy about the ac costs either if the room doesn't ever get down to the temp the ac is set for.
    – HLGEM
    Aug 23, 2012 at 15:09
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    "at least in the 30s quite often" -- For those who aren't familiar with Celsius (i.e., many Americans), 30° C is 86° F, and 39° C is 102.2° F. That's definitely too hot. Aug 23, 2012 at 23:41
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    This is a great question. From experience, my brain shuts down above 23.5° C (74°F ). Above that temperature I can easily do routine tasks, but independent thinking (i.e. not propagated by prompts) becomes progressively difficult. How to prove that? May 8, 2017 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


You may not be in the UK, but the following from the Health and Safety Executive (an independent watchdog for work-related health and safety), has some information on Thermal Comfort in the work place.

There's also this document on Heat stress in the work place, which lists some physical and psychological issues that heat can induce. It's probably more aimed at severely hot environments, but still may be of interest to you.

As for the noise, a quiet environment is part of the Programmers Bill of Rights, you should find some good references in there as to why it's important.

  • 17
    @Mint - The programmers bill of rights is not a legal document. It is not evidence either - be careful how you present it if you do present it.
    – Oded
    Aug 23, 2012 at 11:12

In Swiss there is a law indicating the best practice for the workplace temperature (OLT3 art. 16, OLT= Ordonnance 3 relative a la Loi sur le Travail). The law does not give actual numbers, but usual interpretations indicates that 21-23 Celsius degrees is good for a non manual seated job, and for a manual seated job 20-22 Celsius degrees.

The law is here: http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/c822_113.html (in French)

Explanation of this law by a work safety association: www.avsst.ch/Travail%20et%20chaleur.pdf (still in French)

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