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Air conditioning is just one of the environmental impacts on productivity

18th May 2016

Productivity is quite often difficult to measure, particularly in modern office environments where work is not so much task-based but more strategic. It is hard to quantify thinking, planning and problem-solving time, but nevertheless, organisations are increasingly using improved productivity to justify the installation outlay on an air conditioning system.
We know that air conditioning can have a huge impact on productivity in the workplace. Employees crave comfortable working conditions in which they can perform to their optimum, and air conditioning can reduce tiredness and stress, which results in increased output, less mistakes and a more contented workforce.

Of course, air conditioning is not the only environmental control that can influence productivity in the workplace, there are other factors within the basic infrastructure of a working habitat that can have the same impact and which employers also need to consider.

Creating good lighting levels at work is crucial, whatever the working environment, and this could be good artificial light or good natural light. Either way, productivity can be improved by ensuring good reading comprehension leads to less mistakes or better quality of work, there are less accidents, and you can provide conditions which lead to good processing speed. Good lighting can also reduce tiredness, stress and fatigue in employees, which again, has a knock-on effect on output and quality, and therefore, productivity.

Noise levels can be classed not necessarily in terms of excessive decibels, but with respect to distractions and irritants. An organisation can control noise levels through wall insulation, isolating employees in certain closed environments or better quality glazed windows and doors. This would lead to improvements in productivity through creating a quieter working environment, enabling better concentration levels and less interruptions.

Air quality
Inherent air filtration units are often the forgotten feature of air conditioning systems, but reducing airborne dust, bacteria and mould can improve employee health, reduce absenteeism, and provide a cleaner environment and improved concentration levels.

Ergonomic factors are regularly quoted as key ingredients in an employees’ well-being at work, and available space at the regular work station is a major part of that. Productivity can be affected by restrictions in movement, distractions and the simple fact that people need their own personal space for freedom of thought. Offering employees sufficient space at their work station also influences feelings of self-esteem. There is a feeling of prestige and status in having your own working environment, however isolated from or more comfortable than other people’s that environment is. Certainly, the ‘space’ factor can subsequently influence productivity.

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