Although workplace environmental conditions are a common cause of debate, it’s usually a topic that’s treated lightly and as a matter of comfort.
But the working conditions could be more important than you think, especially for offices in which there’s lots of technology present. It plays an important role in well-being and productivity – not just for employees but for the technology too.
So, why is workplace environment important, what are the rules, and what can you do to control it? We’ll answer all these questions in the article below.
What does UK law say about workplace temperatures?
Currently, there aren’t any legal stipulations on minimum or maximum workplace temperatures.
However, there is some guidance available from the Approved Code of Practice. It suggests a minimum temperature of 16 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, it doesn’t suggest a maximum temperature.
However, employers must still abide by health and safety at work law. This requires them to keep workplace temperatures at a comfortable level, as well as provide clean and fresh air.
Why is the workplace environment important?
The workplace environment is crucial for protecting workers and technology. We explain exactly why in more detail below.
- Employee health
Without proper workplace temperature controls, employees are exposed to temperature extremes. Being in a hot environment can cause several illnesses, including:
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat syncope
- Heat cramps
- Heat rash
Air quality is another important factor to consider. Cleaning products, adhesives, and electronic devices are all sources of volatile organic compounds, which can cause a variety of adverse health effects, including:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Headaches, nausea, and loss of coordination
- Damage to the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system
- Technology performance
An overly hot environment can also have an impact on the technology used in the workplace. This doesn’t just get in the way of productivity but can even result in costly repairs and replacements if the damage is too much.
For example, laptops and desktop computers are vulnerable to overheating. The electronic components they use are extremely sensitive. Getting too hot lowers the electrical resistance of objects, increasing the current flowing through them to dangerous levels. This can cause the processing unit to slow these components down or shut off altogether.
What can you do to control the workplace environment?
There are several methods you can use to regulate temperature and air quality in a workplace environment, including:
- Deploying portable fans to blow air around populated areas
- Installing air purifiers like these that clean toxins in the air
- Enforcing regular breaks to allow workers to get fresh air and cool down
- Introducing flexible work patterns that limit heat exposure
- Opening doors and windows for ventilation
- Placing insulation around hot pipes
- Installing air conditioning
- Situating workstations away from sunlight and heat-emitting technology
A factor in well-being and performance
When left unattended to, workplace environmental conditions can seriously affect your two most important assets and lead to negative outcomes for your organization. It’s vital you understand the role they play and regulate them accordingly. And after reading our article, you should be well on your way to achieving this.