Guide to Keep a Workplace Cool in Summer
In recent years, Western Australia has experienced record-breaking summers. This has meant that keeping the workplace cool has become even more challenging than usual. The summer months can often mean drops in productivity in the workplace as staff struggle to cope with the heat. Keeping your workplace cool is essential both for the health of your staff and your business’ productivity.
In this guide, we outline the most efficient ways you can keep your workplace cool. AAPL Air Conditioning has been providing air conditioning services since 2008. If you feel like you’re melting away in your workplace this summer, get in touch with our team who’ll be happy to help you keep your workplace cool and comfortable year-round.
Keep the air-con on during hot weather
It might sound obvious, but efficient air conditioning is the best way to keep your workforce cool during summer. Without AC, temperatures can quickly skyrocket in offices and other indoor workplaces. Not only is working without AC uncomfortable, but it can actually be unsafe. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can occur when a person’s body temperature begins to rise above 37°C.
Since WA consistently experiences summer days above this temperature, it’s crucial that workplaces use air conditioning to bring down temperatures during the summer months. A comfortable ambient room temperature usually falls between 18 and 22°C. Below this range will feel slightly chilly to most people, while above 22°C begins to feel too warm.
Air conditioners work by continually cooling a room down until it reaches a given temperature when they then pause the cooling until the room temperature begins to rise again. This mechanism means you can (and should) leave AC units or central air conditioning on throughout the working day to keep the workplace consistently comfortable.
Encourage staff to dress for the weather
The clothing that your workforce dons will have a tremendous impact on how comfortable they are in the workplace. Staff should wear lightweight and loose clothing whenever possible. They should choose light colours over dark colours—these reflect more sunlight whereas dark colours absorb it, making the wearer hotter.
While staff should still look professional, their safety is always more important, and you may want to make amendments to the dress code for the summer months so your workforce knows they can wear more comfortable clothing during hot weather.
Provide personal fans
Good quality air conditioning in an office or enclosed workplace should be all you need to keep the space cool and comfortable, however, personal fans can be effective in some circumstances. If your workplace is not enclosed or you have poor-quality air conditioning that doesn’t fully cool down the room, you should provide staff with small personal fans they can use to their liking to keep themselves cool.
Ultimately though, investing in efficient air conditioning should be your top priority. Speak to AAPL Air Conditioning if you want to improve your workplace’s conditions with high-quality air conditioning.
Provide ice-cold water
Your workplace should provide access to plenty of drinking water during the summer, and in fact, throughout the entire year since a hydrated workforce is a more productive and healthier one. During the summer, chilled water can make all the difference. Drinking a glass of ice-cold water has the dual benefit of hydrating and cooling down the drinker.
A chilled water dispenser is often the ideal solution to having ice-cold water on tap in your workplace, but alternatively, you could simply provide a large and constant supply of ice cubes for staff to add to their drinks.
Make sure all windows and doors are closed when it’s hot
This one only applies if your workplace has air conditioning installed. While opening a window may provide a breeze, too much cool, air-conditioned air will be lost in the process. At the same time, the hot outside air will make its way inside. You’re much better off keeping windows and doors closed when it’s hot outside.
Opening the windows does have its benefits as airing out rooms helps to prevent excess moisture and mould from developing. To still reap the benefits of opening your windows, do it early in the morning or in the late afternoon and always when the AC is turned off.
Switch off electronics that aren’t in use
All electronic devices give off heat. You’ll often find that rooms with several computers are a couple degrees hotter than the rest of the building. The use of electronic devices like computers, projectors, phones, and monitors is inevitable in the workplace, but a workforce should be aware that each device that is on will be adding heat to the space.
Staff can often be complacent about turning off equipment when it’s not in use, so do remind your workforce that they should be doing so if they know they won’t be using a device for some time. Not only will this cool down your workplace, but it’ll save you money on the electric bill too.
Provide a shaded outdoor area
Lots of people like to eat their lunch outside, even in the summer. But in Western Australia, if there’s no shaded outside area, this becomes impossible in summer. Do your workforce a favour by providing a shaded area outside, preferably with fans if there isn’t a good natural breeze. Doing this will allow staff to come back from lunch feeling refreshed and ready to crack on with the rest of the day.
Get window sunscreens or blinds
Windows can act as suntraps. If your workplace has large windows that get the sun shining through and heating up the room, consider installing sunscreens or blinds—these will help to prevent so much sunlight from penetrating through the windows and bringing up the internal temperature. Plus, blinds will prevent glare from shining onto monitors and into people’s eyes which will reduce eye strain injuries.
Keep physical exertion to a minimum
Physical activity quickly raises the body temperature. Especially in the summer months, it can quickly lead to staff feeling lightheaded or even falling ill with heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Examples of physical exertion in the workplace could be carrying heavy equipment from vehicles into the office or reshuffling the layout of furniture.
If physically demanding activities need to be carried out, try to do these tasks in the early morning or in the late afternoon when the temperature is lower. Also, get as many staff involved as possible so that the physical demands aren’t placed on only one or two people.
Occupy the coolest spots in the workplace
Certain rooms or areas in the workplace will be hotter than others. Often rooms without good insulation to keep the air-conditioned air in will become hotter. And some spaces trap more sun than others, bringing up the temperature. Take this into consideration when deciding on the layout of your workplace—arrange for staff to occupy the cooler areas and limit hotter areas to uses like reception or storage.
Don’t crowd staff together
Humans produce heat. When several people are together in a room or are in close proximity, this causes the temperature of the room to rise. To minimise this, give staff enough personal space so that they have room to breathe and don’t become overheated. This can also be beneficial for your workforce’s productivity and general well-being.
Switch off overnight
As mentioned, all electronics produce heat. Make sure everything is being turned off when staff go home for the evening. This includes lights and devices. Sometimes ‘stand by’ modes are not very efficient, and devices left in this mode will still produce heat and consume electricity (costing you money). It’s best to fully turn off electronics by the mains when possible.
Treat everyone to ice cream!
Imagine how pleased everyone will be when you surprise with them ice cream. Not only will ice cream help to cool everyone down, but it will give your workforce a boost in morale so they can stay productive through the hot weather.
Keeping your staff cool and comfortable through the sweltering Western Australian summers is no easy undertaking. Not only will hot and bothered workforces be less productive, but high temperatures can become dangerous for your staff.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke become possible as soon as our body temperatures begin to rise above 37°C. Since WA summer days are routinely above this temperature, keeping staff cool in the workplace needs to be a top priority. Without a doubt, the best and most efficient way of keeping workplaces cool is to install high-quality air conditioning.
AAPL Air Conditioning has been keeping Australia’s workforce cool since 2008 and has expert knowledge on the most efficient air conditioning solutions for offices and workplaces. Whether you want to install new air conditioning units, ducted air conditioning, ducted reverse cycle air conditioning, service existing AC, or invest in alternative cooling solutions, the team at AAPL Air Conditioning is here to help.
Get started by contacting AAPL Air Conditioning today.