Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 12:00 AM
Short Summary: For those who don't work at weekends, there is some solace when a heat wave comes at a weekend. But if the heatwave continues, how do you cool your workforce?
For those who don’t work at weekends, there is some solace in the fact that the heat wave has come at a weekend. But forecasts suggest the heat wave is set to continue. How will everyone cope In this blistering heat at work?
There appears to be no let-up in the south and that includes London of course. An urban centre like London – or any other big city – is usually a few degrees warmer.
H&S laws suggest that a workroom defined as a space where people work for more than a few minutes at a time, should be a ‘comfortable temperature’. Further defined as ‘with no need for special clothing’.
Specifying a minimum temperature is easier apparently and this is quoted as 16°C. Allowing it to drop to 13°C if the work undertaken is physical.
For some reason a high temperature in which it is uncomfortable to work seems harder to specify. This is presumably because in some circumstances i.e. kitchens or where hot processes are carried out, this is impossible to control. But the same could be noted for processes that are cold.
Another factor is that to some degree, everyone has their own comfort zone. We know that some people cope better with the heat and equally that some people cannot bear to have windows open in winter because they are too cold. These personal differences are impossible to legislate for.
The directives suggest that every effort should be made to make workers comfortable. These include good ventilation, shading at windows, not siting work stations where there is ‘radiant heat’, local cooling quaintly referred to as ‘hot weather fans’ and of course an air conditioning plant.
The last option is definitely the most effective.
Air conditioning is undeniably noticeable. You notice it when you walk into some big stores like M & S. Once through the door you are immediately cooler.
At work although not a legal requirement it certainly makes a big difference to the working environment. If your air-conditioning has ever broken down or you’ve worked in a space with none, it can easily be appreciated.
When we are comfortable we work better too. A room full of uncomfortable workers, too hot or too cold, does not encourage good morale, motivation or productivity.
Rather it is likely to cause unrest, a lot of movement as people go to fetch cold drinks, retire to the rest room to cool down and so on. There will no doubt be considerable conversation amongst the group if they are too hot probably complaining about how they feel. This is a natural reaction when several people in one space are suffering discomfort.
You could well recoup your investment in air conditioning on these points alone. Productivity may be difficult to measure in some places but if the workforce is comfortable that will surely help them to work better.
If your workplace needs to be cooler, look for an air conditioning expert in your area i.e. Leeds, Luton or Lincoln, you won’t be disappointed and nether will your workforce. If you already have one make sure it is maintained or know who to call if it breaks down.
Rob Rudd enjoys little more than when the sun comes out and the wind drops. However he does find it difficult to be productive when it gets too hot and stuffy and heartily recommends investigating a decent air conditioning unit.