Employers have a duty of care to ensure workspaces are safe and comfortable. While temperature and humidity control may not seem like a priority, both can have a major impact on your employees’ health and wellbeing. Not only can poor air circulation cause illness, it can reduce productivity and motivation.
This article will tell you exactly how temperature and humidity can negatively affect workers, and provide actionable advice that could improve your business.
High humidity can cause discomfort and excessive perspiration, while low humidity can cause respiratory problems. According to Dehum the optimum level should be between 40 and 60 percent. This is perhaps one of the most understated elements of workplace health and safety. Sometimes simply opening a window or getting a dehumidifier could be all that’s required. While it might feel like an unnecessary investment, the costs will eventually be recouped through greater productivity and less sick days.
Add some greenery to the office. Flowers and plants will soak up water, increase oxygen, and improve air quality. Although they won’t make a huge different to humidity levels, certain plants, such as dracaena and spider plants, will reduce allergens that are caused by high humidity.
The optimum comfort level is generally considered to be between 20 and 26 degrees centigrade (22 is a good starting point). Adjustments should be made to ensure the air conditioning reaches all areas of the office, with particular attention geared towards spots with a high density of computers.
Some employers subscribe to the logic that offices need to be kept below the average temperature range in order to prevent computers from overheating. However, it’s important to remember that computers are simply tools that help humans to do the work. When an employee feels too hot or too cold all they’ll think about is their comfort, and when that happens the condition of their computer makes little difference!
Don’t forget about radiant heat. The sun will make a far greater difference to temperate than you realise. Control radiant heat with blinds and louvres, open windows on hot days to boost air circulation, and make sure all of your workers are comfortable with their workstation placement. Better yet, consider using portable desks so your employees can move around at will and find their optimum spot.
Open a dialogue in your office space and find a suitable average temperature that everybody can agree on. Don’t change the thermostat on the sly when nobody is looking – this will only cause problems. For those who get cold, encourage them to wear an extra layer, or relocate their workstation further away from the air conditioning system.
Stay productivity focused. Temperature and humidity are two basic fundamentals of comfort. As a business owner it’s your responsibility to create the optimal working space for your employees. Get it right and you will reap the rewards of a more productive and enthusiastic workforce.