With the onset of summer and record high temperatures of late, unhappy workers are getting hot under the collar thanks to poor temperature management and inadequate ventilation of their workplace. A recent survey commissioned by Warmafloor and carried out by YouGov has revealed that two-thirds (65%) of UK workers who work indoors say they are up to 50% less productive when working in a room hotter than their optimum room temperature.
In these times of austerity, British business should pay more attention to the comfort of their employees to ensure that they are able to work to their optimum ability. Yet, more than two-thirds (67%) of indoor workers claim that they experience drowsiness in a hot room, 56% suffer from loss of concentration, 37% experience headaches and 21% suffer from irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, which could all impact their ability to work effectively. This is not a rare occurrence. 71% of employees who work indoors feel that their workplace is regularly too hot or too cold to operate at their peak performance.
In the event that workers find themselves in a room hotter than their optimum temperature, 68% said they would be likely to open the window, 51% would turn on a fan and 30% would turn up the air conditioning. Only 4% of those questioned said that they would take no measures at all!
This is an issue close to worker’s hearts and should be to facilities managers and businesses too. With soaring energy bills and running costs, employees taking these actions (no doubt often without permission) will override systems and cause yet more energy expenditure and increased CO2 levels. It is little wonder that the energy used in running buildings is responsible for nearly half of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions.
Mike Lamb, Managing Director of Warmafloor said, “The economic crisis has meant that every company is looking to get the most productivity out of their workers. These results demonstrate that individuals think that their optimum temperature is anywhere from 14C to 24C. Control and flexibility is therefore critical. By using surface heating and cooling systems, which are divided into multiple zones that can be independently controlled to suit a variety of personal preferences and room layouts, employers can ensure both the happiness and productivity of their employees. Any adjustments made by occupants can be reset at midnight, by the Building Management System. This provides a balance between energy efficiency and occupant comfort.”
There is some encouraging news however. The results show that many people would choose to work in cooler temperatures than we typically heat a room. In Scotland and the North, most people who work indoors elected 17-18C as their optimum temperature (30% and 26% respectively). Men who work indoors in the UK were equally split between choosing 17-18C and 19-20C (each with 29%). The average room temperature tends to be 20C so it is interesting to note that a sizeable portion thought that their optimum temperature was considerably cooler than this. The priority, it seems, is a constant temperature.
Mike added; “This survey will hopefully raise awareness about non-conventional technologies, such as surface heating and cooling, which operate at lower temperatures and enable the heat source to operate at its highest efficiency. Installing such systems will typically translate to energy savings of 25% in domestic properties, rising to 50% in larger commercial or industrial buildings.”
Warmafloor was established in 1986 and is a recognised market leader in the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of surface heating and cooling systems for commercial and industrial projects.
Warmafloor is a wholly owned subsidiary of the multi-national Wavin Group, a leading supplier of plastic pipe systems in Europe.
Warmafloor’s employs 66 people, had an annual turnover of £10.8m in 2010 and is growing at 20% year on year. Its head office is in Southampton.
Warmafloor completes at least 500 projects per year. Typical contracts include large industrial buildings, museums, offices, hospitals, schools, universities, leisure centres, hotels, government buildings, libraries and large apartment buildings. For more information, please see http://www.warmafloor.co.uk/company/contracts.asp
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2052 adults, of which 960 work indoors. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 10th and 12th May 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
Total sample size for the second survey was 2065 adults, of which 1064 work indoors. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 18th and 20th May 2011.