We hope you’re reading this while enjoying a sizzling summer, but for many, we know that rising temperatures can create an unpleasant work environment.
Let’s get the official line out of the way. Although there’s no law for maximum working temperatures, employers must abide by health and safety laws that dictate the temperature must be at a comfortable level, and the air clean and fresh. Overheated employees can become irate and short tempered, sedentary and underproductive, or even ill – so it’s worth taking their comfort seriously.
Heat is one of the biggest grumbles during the summer but if we’re going to be precise, employers should be taking into account air temperature, humidity, heat sources such as screens and photocopiers, clothing and any breeze or wind when managing a heat risk. The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends a temperature of 20˚C for offices and the TUC advises making efforts to reduce heat levels if the temperature inside reaches 24˚C.
The easiest and quickest way to control the temperature in your office environment is by installing air conditioning. This can be done at any point but is best included in an office refurbishment or relocation. Air conditioning sometimes gets bad press but that’s normally because of the people operating it, rather than the unit itself *.
Always opt for air conditioning with individual digital controls, which allow employees to customise the temperature in the room or area in which they work, rather than a centralised control that sets one temperature for the whole office. And what if there are covenants preventing you from installing air conditioning? It’s worth remembering that simply opening a door isn’t always the best method of bringing the temperature down – especially if it’s a fire door or an important part of a building’s security measures.
Ask MPL Interiors about smart office space planning to help keep cool. We can re-site desks away from direct light, move photocopiers and printers to one centralized location so workers are not sitting by their surprisingly high heat output, and change windows to one with better openings. Don’t suffer in sweltering temperatures – keep your cool and contact MPL.
* Did you know most air conditioning units are based on the resting metabolic rate of an 11 stone, 40-year-old man? This explains why many men turn the air conditioning to its coldest setting while women shiver. The science behind the temperature divide points to a man’s denser muscle composition, with muscle generating heat, and the fact a woman’s hands are colder by several degrees.
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