Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

It Pays To Have a Cool Office

man at deskWho would have imagined that turning on a ceiling fan might reduce your malpractice risk?

And yet, experts say the temperature inside your office affects not just the quantity but also the quality of the work done inside.

Most of those know this intuitively. You don’t need a degree in psychology or meteorology. All it takes is some time spent in a physically uncomfortable office to know how hard it is to do your best work in such a space.

“Industry analysts say that a scorching hot office without proper air conditioning can cause productivity to dip to unsustainable levels, according to this source. “No matter if you have a home office or if you are the manager of a large office space with multiple employees, your main job this summer will be to keep your workers cool and comfortable.”

Pointers for a Productive Workplace

Here are seven tips for beating the heat – and creating a better law practice in the process:

  • Close the windows. Keep the swelter on the other side of the glass. Turn on ceiling fans for circulation. Provide personal fans at work stations. Add a water mister for extra relief.
  • Hit the off button. Turn off equipment and lights after hours. Fans too – they cool people, not empty rooms. Don’t use large, heat-generating machines in the afternoon. Consider bringing in someone to conduct an energy audit to identify ways to save money and increase efficiency.
  • Allow casual attire. Don’t worry about a dip in professionalism. If your staff is happy and comfortable, your clients will be better served. “Offer your staff the chance to dress down when the temperature heats up,” says this ergonomist. “With a few sensible guidelines in place you can still present a professional front but the freedom will have a practical and psychological impact on your team’s comfort.”
  • Stock up on low calorie snacks. High calorie foods rev up your metabolism, which increases your core temperature. Stick to fruits, salads and cold meal choices.
  • Hydrate. Keep lots of water available. Consider placing water coolers – or even ice chests stocked with H2O – throughout the office. Steer clear of coffee, sodas and caffeinated drinks.
  • Adjust the thermostat. Experts recommend setting your thermostat to approximately 77 degrees during work hours. Boost it to 85 degrees when the office is closed. Maintain these settings for consistency. Don’t allow people to change the temperature to their personal preferences.
  • Use blinds or window film. Direct sunlight can turn a cozy cubicle into a convection oven.
  • Allow flex hours. Driving back and forth to work on scorching days can take its toll. So can dashing in and out of the office on errands, which means dashing in and out of air conditioning. Does everyone really need to be at their desk every day? Perhaps some could work at home during the dog days. Or maybe those who live nearby could take a longer midday break and stay later in the evening.

You don’t just want bodies in seats at your office. You want bodies that are relaxed and minds that are sharp. Start by making sure their working conditions are comfortable.


Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney who has practiced North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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