We’re into what feels like the seventeenth mini heatwave of the summer so far and office workers are getting suitably agitated by a most un-British summer.
There are ways that employers can keep offices cool without reaching for the air conditioning and increasing energy expenditure.
Keeping employees comfortable is very important for businesses. A study from Cornell University found that found that businesses pay 10 per cent more in labour expenses when the office temperature is uncomfortable.
Here are some good things that you can do to keep everyone cool and productive.
Relax the dress code
Dress codes are important in an office environment. But if people are starting to overheat, it is wise to relax the dress code a little bit. Dark suits are stifling in the heat. Consider letting employees wear lighter coloured fabrics, t-shirts and other light clothing when the weather is particularly hot.
Offer fruit and a light lunch
Eating big meals is a sure-fire way to make sure you are bloated and less productive in the afternoon. Employers can’t ban their staff from eating a massive lunch. But they can provide lighter alternatives like fruit and cucumber sandwiches to keep the internal thermometer from rising too high.
Close the window
It might sound counterintuitive but opening the window will let more hot air into your office unless it is significantly cooler outside. Having the air conditioning on while you have a window open is a big no-no because this is wasting energy. Keep the blinds down if you are in direct sunlight.
Get an evaporation cooler
Evaporation cooling systems have been around for a while now. They are a good alternative to air conditioning because they don’t need any special installation and they are more energy efficient. You can get a good small evaporator reasonably cheaply, but it will probably only help cool a few people.
Install a water cooler
Drinking plenty of water will keep your staff hydrated, healthy and cool. You can also advise employees to drip water on their wrists to cool down. Coolers can be bottle-fed or plumbed into your water system and they use significantly less energy than air conditioning.
Utilise any freezer space you have at work by providing frozen treats for your staff. Ice lollies and ice cream are sure to be popular choices and you can help promote healthy eating at work by freezing fruit like bananas, watermelon slices, pineapple rings and grapes.