Air Out the Office

Nov 30, 2017 by

Office comfort is essential for productivity and worker contentedness, and one of the tenants of workplace comfort is air quality. Air quality and temperature have effects beyond mere comfort, however; they both have an impact on productivity as well as health. A 2014 study showed that businesses lost about 2% of their income due to employees not working because of uncomfortable temperatures.

Temperature and humidity

Standard room temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21-23 degrees Celsius), but your office temperature will probably need to fluctuate with the seasons. Our bodies acclimate to the outside temperature, so when it’s warm outside, we prefer indoor temperatures to be a little cooler, and when it’s cold outside, we want temps to be a bit warmer (but not too warm!). Age and gender also play a role. Men are more inclined to feel warmer, while women generally feel cooler. People over the age of 55 are also more affected by colder temperatures. It’s a challenge to find a balance!

Humidity affects both temperature perception and air quality. Humidity levels below 20% causes discomfort between mucous membrane and skin, while humidity levels about 70% promote mold and fungi growth, which can get in the air and have a negative impact on health. Humidity also affects how we perceive temperature. Ideally, you want to keep your office environment at a consistent 40% humidity level. You can control humidity with a condensing air conditioner.

Air quality

The Environmental Protection Agency defines Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as “the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.” Although you or your employees may demonstrate the effects of poor air quality immediately, the signs may also take years to show up. You definitely don’t want you or your employees suddenly become ill–especially if it means you have a lawsuit on your hands.

Fortunately, there are tried-and-true methods of improving air quality and temperature. If you have any of the major sources of air pollution around, such as asbestos, gas stoves, or carbon monoxide, do your best to remove the source. If you can’t do that, take a look at ventilation systems. These can increase the amount of outdoor air that comes in. This can be achieved by opening attic fans or running a window air conditioner. When it’s warmer outside, simply opening the windows and doors to allow fresh air and light in is actually an optimal choice! Of course, if you work in an area major air pollutants or smells, this may not be the best idea…You can also achieve ventilation through an HVAC system that can also help with temperature control. You should also consider air filtration systems or cleaners, as well as ventilation systems that have filters. The best cleaners will have high circulation rates and efficient collectors and filters. They catch particles in the air. You will need to regularly change out your filters, though, because, if they’re working properly, they’ll soon be full up with particles and pollutants.

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