Your facility’s physical environment will have a direct effect on your team’s ability to work effectively. An ideal facility leaves employees feeling comfortable and energized enough to work through the day. In the absence of carefully managed HVAC controls, staff members can grow frustrated and uncomfortable, leading to reduced productivity and avoidable stress. HVAC systems can help your team focus on important tasks by optimizing their physical comfort—through optimal temperature, air quality and more.
Thermal comfort is key to employee productivity. Your team’s temperature needs will fluctuate with the seasons, and not accounting for them can lead to objections from your workplace.
Summer and winter draw the most complaints about heat and cold respectively, while spring and fall produce differing responses due to rapidly changing temperatures.
Managing the office temperature is tricky, as everyone will react to it differently. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration recommends 68–76 degrees Fahrenheit for an optimal range, but you may need to experiment with this setting according to your workers’ responses. To avoid unexpected adjustments, be sure to set restrictions on who can control temperature changes.
Allergens like dust or pollen can cause serious reactions in employees, which can in turn disrupt their workflow. Using an HVAC system that filters and ventilates air can help keep your team free of allergic reactions and air-related health issues.
Poor air quality can lead to a 10 percent reduction in performance, and the impact can be more significant in spaces that already suffer from air pollution or low air quality.
Generous portions of moisture and humidity are part of the recipe for creating mold and fostering the growth of bacteria. These pollutants can trigger asthma in employees or make them ill, resulting in more employees taking sick leave. A properly managed HVAC system should constantly account for humidity, condensation and moisture to ensure that the workplace does not become a hotspot for germs to thrive.
Noise can be distracting in your workplace, depending on the nature of your HVAC system. Loud humming noises, the movement of air and the placement of vents can all affect how sound travels within the building. Your team might have grown accustomed to these noises, but your visitors and clients may not be used to it. Many modern HVAC systems account for this issue with features and innovations designed to reduce the amount of noise pollution.
Choosing an HVAC system is important but it can be difficult, especially when matching one to the needs of your specific space. Opt for energy efficient and smart systems, like Siemens’ Synco, which can gather valuable information to help you save energy and create zones that are either cool or hot depending on the location. Smart systems also have the added benefit of allowing you to automate changes according to different hours of the day or different seasons.
HVAC systems are a crucial piece of infrastructure in any office space. Optimizing your system according to your team’s needs can reduce the number of health issues, increase team productivity and create a more energy efficient workplace.
Photos: Michal Kulesza, Jacob Sciacchitano, Tim Gouw, MemoryCatcher