Temperature, the killer of productivity.
The ambient temperature of the office environment is an ever-present discussion point in any business, along with borrowed stationary and the choice of radio station. But the regulating the temperature of the working environment can have a direct effect on the expenditure and workflow of your business.
A 2014 survey found that 29% of workers spend between 10 and 30 minutes each day not working due to an uncomfortable office temperature. A further 6% spend over half an hour each day not working for the same reason. This works out to be around 2% of the office hours within a working week and has been estimated to cost the UK more than £13 billion annually.
According to multiple studies, the optimal temperature for working condition is 21-23 degrees Celsius which is the temperature recommended by the British government. At this temperature productivity is at its highest level whilst appealing to around 70% of the workforce. By regulating an office space at this temperature, the productivity in the workplace will maximise your assets potential.
But what happens if you don’t regulate temperature?
According to a study conducted by Cornell University, cold employees weren’t just uncomfortable, they were distracted. The drop-in performance was costing employers 10% more per hour, per employee. When the body gets cold, our energy levels are redirected into keeping ourselves warm, resulting in lower concentration levels.
Temperature can also have an effect on the health of an employee. Employees who are working in temperatures that are too hot can suffer from heat stress while those in cold or fluctuating temperatures have a higher likelihood of suffering from illnesses. Work absences have cost UK businesses an estimated £36 billion each year.
Temperature isn’t the only enemy. Humidity is also a big factor in ensuring the comfort of your staff with the optimum levels is between 40% – 60%. Humidity that is too high (over 70%) will cause discomfort from excessive perspiration and amplify the effects of high temperatures. Also, with high humidity comes the risk of developing mould and fungus which can be dangerous to a person’s health. Humidity levels that are lower than 20% cause discomfort by drying out mucous membranes and the skin.
Leaking cash through ventilation.
According to the CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers), buildings account for 45% of the UK energy use and carbon emissions. Various energy management policies have been introduced to reduce this number and as the quality of insulation and construction techniques have dramatically improved over the years. As a result, energy lost through ventilation has had an increasing proportion of the total of a buildings energy consumption.
Inadequate ventilation can have an effect on employee performance by influencing the temperature, humidity and not correctly circulating air within the room an adequate 6 times per hour.
By not ventilating correctly, over a systems lifetime of 10-15 years, just a reduction of 1% in productivity of the workforce will usually significantly exceed any saving made from the installation and design costs of the system. Therefore, it is essential for a building owner to ensure a building is well ventilated creating a healthy and effective workplace environment.
How can this be solved?
- Ensuring that your workspace complies with BREEM standards.
- Ensuring your office air conditioning system is regularly serviced and cleaned.
- Ensuring that essential heat recovery technology is put into place reducing your energy consumption and carbon footprint.
- Ensuring that your ventilation system is regularly cleaned, maintained and designed with the correct air flows required to maintain the human bodies most efficient state.
- Ensuring that your buildings environmental systems are not outdated, and the most efficient monitoring technology is in place to keep your working environment a comfortable one.