Anyway, enough with all the science stuff. Let’s get into the benefits, how/why it affects people differently and the design considerations within an office space.
Ventilation & air conditioning; the benefits for staff and visitors
Heat can make workers feel hot, flustered and sluggish in the office. Many studies back this claim and as the warmer weather sets in, discomfort is more apparent, resulting in poor productivity. Air-con systems provide appropriate ambient conditions for employees to concentrate and work effectively; negating this productivity slump. Here are just five of the benefits for both staff and visitors alike:
⦁ AC allows windows to stay closed, negating pollen intake among hay fever sufferers, reducing symptoms and improving work ethic as well as keeping out the noisy external environment.
⦁ AC reduces heat and moisture levels. Mould and mildew stop forming, reducing maintenance costs and potential respiratory issues
⦁ Air quality is improved as AC units contain purifiers, reducing nasty bacteria and dust particles responsible for sickness, low motivation and productivity
⦁ Conditions such as noise levels are undisturbed as modern AC units operate almost silently
⦁ Clients will feel good in a conditioned environment. A comfortable, welcoming space prompts customer visits and business growth
Office temperature; a bone of contention?
The simple fact is that every individual has his or her own unique preferences. Some shared, some different to others. With this in mind, it’s important to note men and woman’s idea of the ‘perfect temperature’ differs at physiological levels. This is dependent on our gender, age, weight, ethnicity and adaptability. The bottom line? Women generally feel colder than men. Arise, the bone of contention and potential office conflict! But don’t panic… We’ll explore some key points to consider.
Physiological differences are to blame, not your colleague’s mood! A study found woman typically produce less body heat than men. They’re more likely to feel chilly in the office, whilst men tend to feel warmer. Everyone knows a happy workforce is a productive one, so how do we accommodate everyone? An agreeable solution seems impossible, right? We recommend sticking to the guidelines. The Approved Code of Practice states a minimum workplace temperature of 13-16 Celsius, depending on the activities carried out. Not everyone can be pleased, so a tip for those suffering in colder spaces – have a portable heater to hand! Try and find a happy medium, gather a general consensus of an appropriate office thermometric.
To dig into this topic a little further, we’ve carried out our own research, asking 1000 UK office workers whether they felt too hot or too cold in the office. As predicted, women are officially colder at work, with 37% of females saying they often felt cold in the office, and 13% saying they felt cold in the office all the time!
We also analysed the temperature debate by age, and the youngest age demographic, 18-24, appear to be the coldest at work, with 48% claiming they are cold in the office all the time. In fact, there was a noticeable correlation between age and how warm or cold people feel in the office, with older age groups less likely to feel cold at work than their younger colleagues.
Lastly, we had a look at geographical location to see whether this had an impact on people’s opinions. Residents in Wales were the most likely to feel cold all the time, followed by workers in London. Surprisingly, workers in Scotland were the least likely to feel chilly!
Air conditioning considerations within office design
So, we’ve explored the science, the benefits and why AC affects people differently. Yet a question still remains, how should AC be considered within office design? Air con specialists will examine the parameters of an office, the number of people, as well as exit points such as windows and doors. In addition, sun trajectory, building structure and ceiling types will all be looked at closely to determine spatial configurations.
The design of an office impacts how well the AC works. They work well in open-plan areas, however individual spaces should have their own systems. Finally, consider the businesses critical equipment and cooling needs. The modern workplace contains tech that generates a lot of heat. It’s important to filter this to improve operating efficiency, ensuring safety in an optimal workspace.
But need not worry! Our team of experts will design your office with comfort and ventilation in mind, maximising airflow for a happy, productive environment. Get in touch with us today!