The wellbeing, performance and health of employees is influenced by the climate and air quality in the workplace. While it’s essential to create an optimal climatic condition in an office space, the most suitable indoor climate differs for each individual employee. Factors that affect the optimal climate condition include age, gender and body weight for each worker.
In addition, the nature of the work being undertaken can also influence body temperature. For example, in a stressful situation or when you are under or over stretched, you may experience a higher body temperature than your work colleagues. To understand about climate control in the workplace the following should be considered:
Understanding the office climate
In an office environment an air temperature of 20°C to 22°C is recommended. To achieve this when using an air conditioning unit, you may need to set the temperature of the unit lower than the outside climate.
In exceptional cases when the outside temperature is high, the office climate may exceed 26°C. If this is the case then additional measures should be applied to lower the temperature, such as closing window blinds. If the temperature rises above 35°C, this office area is not suitable for workers. To monitor temperature levels, a measurement should be taken every hour, approximately 0.6m above the floor.
In addition to the office temperature, humidity levels also affect air quality. Humidity levels should be within 40% to 60%. Air that is too dry is unpleasant and can lead to an increase of airborne viruses, but air that is damp is no fun either and can cause unpleasant odours! Plants in the workplace will help to balance the humidity.
CO² levels should also be considered when assessing the air quality in your office environment. If the office seems to be ‘stuffy’ the CO2 (measured in ppm = parts per million) values are possibly too high, if the value of 1000ppm increases then additional ventilation is required, such as opening windows or the use of air conditioning units.
Air conditioning systems
While air conditioning units offer a solution for controlling the temperature of your office, it is worth being aware that there are associated risks. If an air conditioning system is installed incorrectly this could lead to unpleasant draughts, employees experiencing eye problems plus coughing and breathing difficulties. Poor maintenance of a cooling system could lead to the spread of bacteria or germs.
Guidelines to help with your office air quality
Here are some guidelines that will help you to look after the health and wellbeing of your employees during hot weather:
· Use of suitable sun protection, such as window blinds
· Effective use of ventilation equipment
· Limitation of thermal loads (e.g. switch on electrical devices only when required)
· Ventilate the office area early in the morning
· Change shift and work patterns so employees can start earlier in the morning
· Relax clothing rules, such as light footwear and no ties
· Provide sufficient drinking water
· Avoid strenuous activities
If the outside temperature is above 26°C, the employer should observe the above guidelines
The above guidelines must be taken by the employer
Unsuitable as work area
For more information or to arrange for an Ergo Squad representative to evaluate your workspace to help your business achieve its potential, please get in touch using the form below.