Written by Sophie Davenport, Director at SFE Services
In today’s workplace, employee wellbeing and productivity are a priority for employers. Investing in the comfort and health of your team leads to improved performance, happiness, and overall job satisfaction. If you are an employer looking to do just this, you might not think to improve your air management straight away. Doing so, however, is one of the most effective ways to achieve an instant boost in overall mood and morale in your workplace. Air management includes air conditioning, ventilation and air quality control. So, how can improving this help you create an ideal work environment?
Health and Safety
It is important to know that leaders bear the legal obligation to adhere to health and safety standards related to ventilation and air quality. These regulations exist to protect employee health, emphasising the importance of maintaining optimal indoor air quality. Additionally, the aftermath of the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of well-ventilated workspaces. Employees are now increasingly aware of their rights and expect any business to offer sufficient air quality and ventilation.
Benefits of Air Management
Efficient air conditioning plays a crucial role in elevating employee wellbeing and productivity. Maintaining an optimal ambient temperature significantly enhances mood and overall wellness. No one enjoys working in a hot and stuffy environment all summer long or shivering at their desk in the winter. Comfortable temperatures contribute to a more enjoyable work atmosphere and a team-wide morale boost. The other vital aspect of air management is ventilation – air quality control not only increases overall happiness and motivation but also helps mitigate the spread of common illnesses by replacing stale air with fresh, filtered air. Proper ventilation ensures that the air your employees breathe remains fresh and healthy, reducing the likelihood of illness and minimising sick days.
Ending Air Con Wars
There are several ways to maximise the efficiency of your existing hardware and prevent air con wars from dividing your team. One effective approach is to set up timers for your systems to activate a few hours before employees arrive and continue running for a short period after they leave. This ensures that rooms reach optimal temperature and ventilation levels while avoiding unnecessary energy consumption. Educating employees on proper controller use can help prevent common issues arising from incorrect settings. Implementing a temperature range lock on controllers provides employees with some freedom over their environment while preventing extreme changes that may disturb others. Another quick solution is identifying temperature-sensitive employees and seating them closer to, or away from, AC units or grilles. Additionally, adjusting vanes on units or relocating grilles to redirect airflow can make a significant difference. If these adjustments do not give the desired impact, it may indicate outdated or ineffective systems that require upgrading. When considering an upgrade, always get in touch with experienced professionals who can determine the best approach based on factors such as the size of the space and the number of occupants. Tailoring effective solutions to your specific needs ensures that your resources are invested wisely.
Evaluating Your Systems
As a leader, you need to be proactive and ensure that your air management meets the required standards. It is strongly advised to implement a regular maintenance programme. Poorly maintained systems can suffer from decreased control, quality, and effectiveness. Visual inspections, such as checking for dust or mould around grilles and vents, can offer valuable insights into the need for servicing. The presence of excessive condensation or unpleasant odours also signals that a system requires attention. Equally important is engaging with your staff to gather feedback on comfort levels and perceptions of the system’s effectiveness. Complaints of tiredness, headaches, and general fatigue serve as indicators that ventilation needs attention.
Unfortunately, in the world of air conditioning, our team often encounters substandard work from ‘cowboy installers’. Rushed and poorly executed jobs can result in ineffective and sometimes hazardous AC systems. It is up to those who oversee the workplace to choose a reliable installer and verify that their systems are working correctly. When inspecting air conditioning, make sure you can feel the system effectively cooling or heating the space. When it comes to ventilation, a stuffy or uncomfortable atmosphere signals an issue. You also need to check for obvious signs of poorly fitted units, grilles, pipework, or water leaks.
In conclusion, leaders must recognise the profound impact that proper air management has on staff wellbeing and productivity. Temperature control and ventilation are not only legal requirements but also essential contributors to creating a comfortable, healthy, and efficient work environment. By prioritising air management, organisations can unlock their employees’ full potential, leading to increased job satisfaction, reduced absence, and ultimately improved business performance.