Office heating and cooling systems play a major part in keeping the workforce comfortable and productive.
On cold winter days, office heating can be a godsend. Nothing beats walking into a toasty office when it’s negative degrees outside. In addition, office air conditioning plays a major role in employees’ productivity.
With employee efficiency and energy costs on the line, it makes sense that many business owners are now investing so much time and money to pick out the perfect office heater system.
So how exactly does temperature affect productivity?
Office Temperature and Productivity
Office heating and cooling systems can help regulate the temperature in your office to ensure all employees are comfortable and thus productive. When you feel comfortable, you can focus more on the tasks at hand rather than worry about being too hot or cold.
Cold temperatures can also hinder your employees’ movement around the workspace, making them miss out on meaningful interactions and thus lowering their job satisfaction. Temperature can also affect your mood and health. Places with lower temperatures can make people feel more isolated, while warmer temperatures encourage friendly attitudes. In addition to this, your environment also impacts your decision-making abilities.
So now you know that an ideal temperature is crucial. But what is the perfect temperature for your office?
What Is the Ideal Office Temperature?
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends office temperature around 68F to 76F. However, according to Helsinki University of Technology’s Laboratory for Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning, the perfect temperature for an average office is around 71.6F.
While those are the recommendations, it’s important to note that individual preferences vary, and other factors affect temperature needs. For instance, if some desks at your workplace get more sunlight than others, then on these desks, you might not rely on the office heater for warmth. But if you sit on a desk with no sunlight, you will most likely want to turn the heating up.
Similarly, many other factors such as age, gender, body weight, and humidity levels also affect temperature needs. This difference in preferred temperature can lead to vicious thermostat wars among coworkers.
Most office spaces are now looking into zoning systems to overcome this issue. This system uses multiple thermostats in different parts of your workplace to control temperature. If your office doesn’t have a central heating system, you can still create temperature zones using smart AC controllers with your mini-split, window, or portable HVAC systems.
Office Heating Laws
With temperature playing such a crucial role in employee productivity and safety, you probably expect a law in place to enforce a suitable temperature mandate. Unfortunately, however, there are no laws that impose or require offices to maintain a specific temperature. The primary reason is that some offices have equipment or products they need to store at particular temperatures, even if the employees in that office don’t like that temperature.
The 1992 Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations suggest that office temperatures are maintained around 60.8 F. Research also shows that productivity and creativity increase at 69.8 F. Temperatures higher or lower than this could harm productivity.
While there are no legal requirements to convince your employer to turn the office heating up, employers are obligated to provide their employees a comfortable and safe working environment (as per clause 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act). So, if you’re a little too cold (or even too hot), it might not be a bad idea to talk to someone about it.
If you convince your workplace to improve the office heating system, they might ask you for recommendations. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
What to Do if Your Office Is Just Too Cold?
Most offices these days have at least one main heating or cooling system in place to keep their employees comfortable. However, this primary system can sometimes prove ineffective. There can be numerous reasons behind this.
For instance, the building could have cold and warm spots depending on how and where the sun streams in. Or perhaps the type of insulation in the building is not good enough. Or maybe some areas are located further away from the main heating or cooling system than others.
Whatever the cause, there is no denying that temperature imbalance in the office can be very inconvenient. While some employees are sweating and want to turn the office heating down, others could be very cold and not productive.
To remedy this, you can keep an extra shawl or sweater and utilize it when feeling cold. You can talk to your coworker and trade seats to stay near the heating system. Additionally, you can also bring in a space heater for more personalized climate control.
What Are Office Space Heaters?
Office space heaters are compact and portable heating solutions. These systems are commonly used in combination with a primary office heating system. Space heaters are also useful for spaces where central heating would be too costly to install.
Most office space heaters use convection or radiant heating. Convection heating works by warming and circulating air to heat small spaces. On the other hand, radiant heating uses infrared radiation to heat people or objects nearby. Out of the two, radiant heating is more efficient since it doesn’t waste energy on heating an entire room and instead focuses on only the occupants and their immediate surroundings.
Another fairly common sort of space heater is the forced air heater. These heaters work in a way similar to convection heaters in their functioning. They draw air over a heating element to warm and then distribute it like a convection heater. However, unlike convection heaters, these systems use fans to circulate the air instead of convection currents. Forced air space heaters might also occasionally rely on ductwork to distribute warmed air.
While most space heaters work via these three mechanisms, there’s still a wide array of heaters in the market. Unfortunately, having so many options can make the task of choosing the best office space heater quite tough. Fortunately, though, the choice is influenced by certain factors, and understanding these will make it so much easier for you to make the right decision.
10 Best Space Heaters for Offices
We’ve compiled a list of the ten best office heaters that you can choose from:
1. Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater
The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater has been around for a very long time, and it has garnered praise for being one of the most reliable yet affordable space heaters out there. This fan heater has a compact body and is surprisingly lightweight. Like many other Lasko heaters, this model is also super quiet and has impressive safety features such as automatic shut-off and an exterior that always stays cool. You can fit it under your office desk to keep your toes toasty without worrying about burning your toes.
2. Vornado MVH Vortex Heater
Another forced air space heater option is the MVH from Vornado. This office space heater works by heating air over a circular resistance coil and then using a three-blade fan to distribute heat across your room evenly. The MVH can heat slightly larger office spaces, and it makes nearly no sound. In addition to these perks, this office heater has a cool-to-the-touch exterior, automatic shut-off, and tip-over safety that shuts the device off if it falls over.
3. Amazon Basics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater
Amazon Basics Ceramic Wall space personal heater comes in four colors – white, black, pink, and blue. While the heater may appear tiny, it packs quite a lot of heat and is great for placement on any desk or even on the floor. In addition, it heats up pretty quickly and has a tip-over safety feature. Overall, this space heater is pretty straightforward to use.
4. Lasko Compact Heating Space Heater
Lasko Compact Space Heater only uses 200 Watts of power and is great for small office spaces. Since it runs on such low wattage, it doesn’t pose a threat to your home circuits. It’s also super quiet, so you can run it on your desk in a shared office space without disrupting anyone else’s workflow.
5. GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater
There’s a reason GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater is one of Amazon’s best-selling space heaters. This heater may look tiny, but it can heat a 200 square feet room in a short amount of time. It comes with multiple settings to suit your heating needs. You can run it at 750 watts or 1500 watts for varying heating levels, or you can use it as a fan to keep cool.
6. De’Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater
If you’re looking for a stylish yet efficient office heating solution, look no further than De’Longhi mica thermic panel heater. This freestanding heater is perfect for small or medium-sized offices. It uses a mica thermic element to supply constant heating with no noise output. You can easily mount this lightweight office space heater on any wall to keep people from accidentally kicking it. But you needn’t worry because this heater comes with a tip-over safety feature to shut off if it even falls on its face. It also has a bunch of other features, such as an adjustable thermostat and two heater settings.
7. Cozy Products TT Toasty Toes Ergonomic Heated Foot Warmer
What could be better than a footrest that can also keep your feet warm? This Toasty Toes heater does exactly that. Not only does this let you choose what angle you want the footrest to be at, but it also enables you to pick from different temperature settings. In addition, it’s surprisingly cheap and only uses 105 watts of power to run, making it an energy-efficient option in the long run. Overall, the low power consumption, safety features, and compact design make this space heater an ideal office heating solution for just about anyone.
8. Lasko 755320 Ceramic Space Heater
Equipped with a timer, a programmable digital temperature setting, and an oscillating design, this Lasko ceramic space heater is perfect for slightly larger office spaces. You can set up a timer for automatic shut-off or control it via the remote, so you don’t have to walk up to it every time you want to adjust the temperature. It also comes with impressive safety features, such as an auto shut-down feature that turns the device off if you’ve left it running for too long.
9. Brightown Wall Outlet Space Heater
If you have a small personal office space, this super-compact Brightown Wall Outlet Space Heater is perfect for you. It plugs into any wall and heats up to 100 square feet of office space. You can choose any heat setting between 60 to 90 degrees and can use the inbuilt programmable timer to keep it running for up to 12 hours. In addition to being compact and efficient, this office space heater is also very quiet, making it perfect for open-floor office spaces.
10. Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater
This infrared space heater by Heatstorm is ideal for small to medium rooms. It goes beyond being just a personal heater and can warm up any small office cabin. You have the option of either mounting this heater on a wall if you have limited floor space or purchasing a stand separately and installing the heater on the floor. In addition to a vast range of safety features, this infrared heater also offers smart features. You can control it via both your smartphone and a battery-operated remote control.
How to Choose the Best Office Space Heater?
Space heaters come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from heating pads under your feet to little fan heaters that you can place on your table. Here are some factors that you should consider before making the final call on what heater you should buy:
1. Type of Heater
The first thing to figure out is what sort of heater you’re going to need. As mentioned above, most space heaters work by either convection heating, forced air heating, or radiant heating. All these heaters have their perks and downsides. The choice depends on the type of space you’re heating and what office heating system would work best in that space.
For instance, radiant heaters offer spot heating. They are ideal for open or outdoor locations which might need short-term heating. Convection heaters, on the other hand, provide heating to a whole room and work best in enclosed spaces that would require long-term heating. Forced air heaters serve a similar purpose to convection heaters, but they’re much quicker at heating since they use a fan to distribute air. However, they are also noisier.
The type of office space heater you choose will play a significant role in its overall efficiency.
2. Heating Capacity
Another important consideration to make is the heating capability of the space heater you’re getting. If you plan on using the heater only to keep yourself warm, you likely don’t need a heater with a high wattage. If, however, you plan on using the heater to keep the entire office space warm, you’ll need a heater with a higher capacity.
As a general rule of thumb, a space heater uses 10 watts of heating power to warm up one square foot of your space. So, a 2000-watt heater would be perfect for a 200 square feet room. However, it wouldn’t be wise to get a heater with a high capacity if you’re looking to heat a small space. Too much heat might cause the heater to fail, so it’s crucial that you pick an office heating unit with the right heating capacity.
Running a space heater all day will add around a hundred dollars to the monthly electricity bills at your office. These expensive running costs might discourage many offices from allowing their employees to use space heaters and rely only on the primary office heating system. However, you can cut back these costs by opting for an office heater with high energy efficiency.
Some office space heaters come with built-in features such as programmable timers and thermostats to be more energy-efficient. These features automatically switch your heater off after a pre-defined time or when a suitable temperature is reached. Other heaters have low wattage or energy-saving modes to help cut back your energy bills.
4. Safety Features
Space heaters can be a safety hazard if you don’t take proper precautions when using them. When looking for the best office space heater, opt for one that has extensive safety features. The heater should have cool-to-the-touch surfaces because you don’t want to accidentally burn your feet if your heater is under your table. They should also have an internal switch that will turn them off if they overheat or tip over accidentally.
5. Noise Level
The space heater can generate either a significant or low noise level based on what mechanism the space heater uses. Forced air heaters are generally noisier because they use a fan for heat distribution. Central forced air heaters rely on ducts to get warm air from one room to another and are also pretty noisy.
Contrarily, radiant heaters have a nearly noise-free operation and are a great choice for office spaces where anything that disrupts attention is unwelcome.
6. Your Office Outlets Capacity
Most standard outlets can support up to 1800-2400 watts before they overload and trip. While most space heaters use a wattage well below this upper limit, it’s still important to always check before making a purchase. If your office outlets can’t support your office heating unit, you’ll most likely end up with a blown fuse which we doubt your employers would appreciate very much.
Space Heater Safety Tips
Space heaters have become a lot safer than they once were. All the same, there are still some additional precautions you can undertake to keep your office space safe. Here are the top space heater safety tips for you to follow:
- Don’t leave your heater on if you’re headed out of the office, even for a short bit.
- Make sure the heater is at least 3 feet away from anything that might be even slightly flammable such as furniture, curtains, and other items.
- Keep the heater uncovered since whatever you put on it might either melt or catch fire.
- Remember to keep electric heaters away from water to avoid shocks or other catastrophes. Also, keep all space heaters away from “wet” locations unless they are approved for it.
- Avoid using extension cords or power strips with a space heater because they run on a very high voltage.
- Don’t put a space heater on rugs or elevated surfaces such as tables, stools, or shelves.
- Make sure that all open-face heaters should have a screen, and that is securely installed.
- Don’t use your space heaters to dry things like clothes, paper, or any other such items.
Office Heating: Is It That Important?
The perfect office heater can contribute to much more than just your comfort. Recent research has shown that having a bearable temperature at work can enhance your productivity. The perfect workplace temperature, according to OSHA, falls between the 68F and 76F range. There are several different types of office heating systems, and they are all suited for various applications. Choosing the right system is very important because it can impact your comfort, performance, and energy costs.