Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are in place to assist with the comfort and air hygiene of those working in the office. The system helps to control the indoor climate and the airflow ensuring both when the summer months roll around, there won’t be uncontrollable sweating, and when winter embraces us, we don’t catch a chill in our workspace. A well-maintained HVAC system has excellent health and satisfaction benefits for all members of the office.
We’re now spending more and more time at work; research would reveal workers now spend around 90,000 hours of their lives working. For some of us, this means a lot more time in an office building, so considering your air quality and control is essential.
The Science Behind Ventilation
Let’s say you have a 670-square-foot office that hosts around 15 employees. Most of us would consider this to be a small office, with a small workforce. However, even this space can achieve CO2 levels around 1,000 parts per million (ppm) in less than 8 hours.
This is over 2x times the amount of CO2 you’d find in the atmosphere, and high enough to cause a 15% decrease in cognitive performance of workers. If you can imagine then squeezing this into a smaller space, a meeting room for example, without an adequately ventilated system, you might find productivity dropping tenfold.
Winter’s Effect on Health
The workplace temperature is not just something that can have us reaching for the under-desk heater; it can go a lot further than this. Failure to incorporate a temperature management system into your space can lead to illness. Short and long-term health can be put at risk and absence due to sickness can quickly rack up resulting in a loss of productivity.
In the worst-case scenarios, low temperatures can result in colds, flu, even hypothermia and depending on if there is any damp within your office space it could be worse. While it isn’t likely, with today’s health and safety standards, that you’ll reach this level of danger, it is worth considering that not every worker will have a healthy immune system.
The Employer’s Legal Duty
It is an employer’s legal duty to ensure a safe working environment. With a duty of care is assumed to your employees, this does include they are comfortable in your workplace. While no specific regulation dictates the highest and lowest working temperature, there are guidelines available for employers if they should need them.
How you can Ensure a well Heated Office Space
To make sure you’re using your energy efficiently to promote the comfort of your office workers, the way you set up your HVAC should consider multiple zones that are controlled independently within your office space. If you’re working in an open office, different sections will have separate requirements to get the heat and ventilation they need. Consider:
- Areas on the edge of perimeters, closer to windows or doors – these are likely to be colder.
- Areas densely populated by computers or other technology will need to be monitored for excessive heat.
- Heavily people populated areas like conference rooms, or – if you’re working in a large space – the centre of the floor are likely to be much warmer in hot weather.
It is not only the winter months your HVAC will come in handy, but in these autumn and winter months your staff will thank you for the extra heat in the workspace. To find out more, or if you have any questions, why not contact Air Options today to hear more about our installation opportunities.