Why Office Air Conditioning Is Important To your Business

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Office air conditioning is important. This is apparent in the many studies, which have looked at how office temperature affects office staff, and surveys which have addressed questions around how office AC affects productivity and profits.

As an example The Facilities Management Journal (FMJ) have published the results of a report on how unsuitable office temperatures can result in lost time and decreased productivity.

Office Air Conditioning and How It Affects Productivity

FMJ found that nearly one third of workers lose productivity due to unsuitable office temperatures. The survey reported that 29% of office workers are unable to work efficiently, on average between 10 – 30 minutes a day due to uncomfortable office temperatures. 6% said they lose more than 30 minutes a day of productive working time due to office temperatures not being conducive to working conditions.

FMJ have stated that the results of the survey show that the wrong office temperature could be costing UK businesses as much as 2% of office hours which equates to approximately £13 billion annually (assuming an average wage of £26,500; 29.84m UK employees and a 228 day working year).

The International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) has also conducted a number of surveys looking at the top office complaints among employees. They found that common grievances include high noise levels and limited space however complaints regarding office temperature (being too hot or too cold) are always at the top of the list.

Work carried out by Cornell looking at how environmental factors affect productivity at the Office of America's headquarters in Orlando, Florida found that there were clear associations between office work performance and indoor environment conditions. The results also suggest that performance improves as conditions approach a predicted thermal comfort zone i.e. raising the temperature from 20°C to 25°C results in: a reduction in energy consumption (less cooling), reduced costs, reduced errors by 44%, increases keying output by 150% and savings of ~$2.00per day per worker in lost productivity.

The Law and the Ideal Temperature?

The UK Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces but only states that:

‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’

Interestingly UK law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but states that “the temperature in “workrooms” should normally be at least 16°C or 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort.” A maximum temperature for an office environment is not given as the HSE are looking at temperatures across all industries including e.g. glass works or foundries where temperatures are likely to be extremely high.

“Whether temperatures soar or plummet, unbearable office conditions can have a serious impact on employee health and well-being. Unfortunately the law is left open to misinterpretation by simply stating that employers must provide a ‘reasonable’ workplace temperature” says Helen Pedder of ClearSky HR.

However it’s obvious that getting the temperature right no matter the law will benefit a business.

Benefits of Having the Right Office Temperature

There are many advantages in investing in office air conditioning to allow regulation of the office temperature over and above the improvement in productivity (or the avoidance of decreased productivity). With the right office AC system in place, your business could reap the benefits.

They include:

  1. Ability to Control Temperature/Comfort Levels
    Having an office air conditioning system allows you to provide a comfortable working environment. It also allows you to react to “outside influences” e.g. cooling the office during extremely hot weather or increasing the heat during the winter when it’s cold outside. An air conditioning system can respond rapidly to changes in temperature allowing you to “stabilise” the temperature inside the office. Sophisticated systems can even recover heat from warm areas and redistribute it to cooler areas, thereby helping to maintain a constant temperature.
  2. Energy Efficiency
    Today’s office air conditioning is very energy efficient and affordable. Office air conditioning systems are also replacing traditional heating, resulting in even the smallest of office spaces benefiting from an air conditioning system. Ensuring energy efficiency will depend on selecting the right AC system for your office space. For large office spaces with multiple levels and individual offices a VRF or VRV air conditioning system would be the best choice. As office size decreases a multi-split air conditioning system which can heat and cool at a variable rate allowing you to adapt the temperature in various offices to suit individual needs works well. For a smaller office the best option is a split air conditioning system.
  3. Humidity
    When the temperature outside is colder than inside it can increase moisture levels/humidity within an office. In turn increased humidity can make the office feel hotter than it actually is. Humidity can also lead to mould and mildew forming which in turn can lead to potential respiratory issues. Where humidity drops too low it can cause throat irritation and problems for staff who wear contact lenses. An air conditioning system helps maintain an ideal humidity level within an office (relative humidity should be between 40 and 60%).
  4. Air Quality
    The quality of the air in an office can be improved as air conditioning systems can filter out dust and allergens and other particulates as well as reducing odours. This can help reduce respiratory problems, allergies and colds and coughs!
  5. Reduction in Noise
    Compared to having individual personal fans and office heaters modern office air conditioning systems are very quiet. Even when they are working to full capacity noise is kept to a minimum.
  6. Keeping Business Critical Equipment at the Right Temperature
    All offices have computers and in most case servers plus other equipment that are important to the business. Without them they would not be able to work. The majority of this type of equipment generates heat and need to be kept cool otherwise they are likely to break down or start to misbehave. An office AC system can help to maintain the office temperature so that office equipment works to its maximum efficiency. In the case of areas like server rooms the air conditioning can take heat and humidity away, dispersing that energy elsewhere, ensuring your business critical equipment is safe.

Approved Office Air Conditioning Installers

Synecore are approved installers of the industry’s leading office air conditioning products by Mistusbishi Electric, Daikin and Toshiba. For peace of mind, we offer a seven-year parts and labour warranty on all branded air conditioning systems we install and a 24/7 call out service for emergency office air conditioning repairs, should your system develop a fault.

If you are looking to install a new air conditioning installation for your office, or need to replace an old system contact our team or call on 01795 509 509. We’ll talk you through your options and provide you with expert advice on the right office air conditioning system for your business.

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