It's an age-old problem: everyone says the office temperature is "wrong." Despite their best efforts to create an optimal working environment, workplace teams around the world struggle to meet the temperature preferences of everyone.
Recently, Bloomberg reporters Rebecca Greenfield and Francesca Levy, who cover workplace trends and offer "a close look at the way we live our lives at work" in their weekly podcast, visited Comfy client AppNexus in a feature titled, "Why Your Office is Always the Wrong Temperature." Here's their on-the-ground look at how AppNexus and Comfy are tackling the issue.
The Problem: So, What’s the Big Deal About Office Temperature?
"This is clearly a major problem for employees and for companies. Just keeping a sweater thrown over the back of your office chair doesn't really cut it."
Francesca and Rebecca started with dispelling the myth that office temperature is not a big deal. It's really hard to focus on work when your body isn't at the right temperature. It's a huge productivity and operational loss for workplaces near and far.
Pleasing everyone "was such a pain in the ass."
Heidi D'Alessandro is in charge of events. Everyone would come to her asking her to change the temperature in the auditorium. Cadi Withers on the Global Operations team agreed that life pre-Comfy was in a word "awful" as she was bombarded by angry emails and people chasing her down. It was impossible to satisfy everyone. Heidi resorted to telling white lies and Cadi found it impossible to negotiate conflicting asks from hundreds of people. There was no science behind it.
"The office temperature wars are not an office problem, they are a people problem."
Because people experience temperature differently from each other (and everyone experiences temperature differently throughout the day), it's very difficult to figure out how to make everyone happy all the time. That is, unless you have localized, on-demand control.
Solution: Empower the People
"Now, It is more action-oriented. People say 'I am going to Comfy this room.'"
Product Support Team Manager Michael Dalto described how once AppNexus started using Comfy, solving the temperature problem became "action-oriented." Instead of thinking, "Ugh, I've already emailed this person and I'm just going to bother this person, and nothing is going to change," employees are empowered because they can now use Comfy to make temperature adjustments exactly where and when they need it. Comfy is all about improving communication between the people who work in the building and the people in charge of running the building.
"People think that they hate the temperature in the office, but what they're really upset about is a total lack of control."
Rebecca tapped on how giving people more autonomy and agency in how they work, makes them much happier at work. For example, since workplace trends is her beat, she's seen a lot of research showing that when people are given the option of flexible scheduling, their job performance holds steady. Ultimately, people work better when they are treated like the adults they are.
The Benefits: Immediate relief, control, operational efficiencies...and more time to shop?
"More than a placebo."
Francesca wondered if Comfy's success was merely a placebo effect, but Rebecca reminded her that Comfy is actually connected to the building. When people use Comfy, it actually sets in motion a series of changes. In addition to providing immediate relief and control for AppNexus employees, Comfy provides workplace services people, like Cadi, with greater insight into what employees actually want throughout the entire office. As more people use Comfy over time, the app leverages machine learning to better identify and display personal preferences and keep shared spaces comfortable.
Ultimately, because employees know that their input has a real impact, they're more inclined to engage. Intuitive design, immediate response, and continued optimization unlock the ability to connect people with their workplace in a meaningful way.
What does Cadi do with all her newfound free time? "Online shopping, just kidding!"
Because Comfy gives employees more power over their environment when they need it, workplace teams can focus on driving value across the real estate portfolio, instead of playing peacemaker.
Ready to end the office temperature wars? Then, it's time to get Comfy.