During the warmer months, working in an office can be gruelling and tiresome, especially if you are limited to methods to keep cool. Remaining productive and maintaining concentration is most definitely challenging as temperatures begin to rise.
If you were in the UK during the Summer of 2018, then you would understand why office cooling methods have grown in popularity. As featured in an article by BBC, last year’s souring heatwave actually accounted to the hottest Summer recorded in British history.
With this in mind, preparing your workplace for Summer and finding the best way to cool a hot office remains imperative. To begin your quest, we have devised ten proven ideas to consider!
A Guide To The Best Way To Cool A Hot Office
While we can all agree that it can be tough to focus when you’re feeling hot and bothered, it is actually scientifically proven that heat can impact productivity levels. Based on a study by Entrepreneur, it is thought that for every one degree over 27 degrees, individuals lose 4% of their productivity and concentration.
Not only can excess heat impact the body mentally, but also physically. Those who sit in high temperatures all day can begin to feel irritable and nauseous. In the worst-case scenario, other symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headaches, weakness and fatigue.
Our guide to the best ways to keep your workplace cool will run through cost-effective methods to ensure that no employees begin to feel the above side effects – even on the warmest of summer days!
1. Air Conditioning Units
It is only fair to begin our guide with the most effective cooling method, installing air conditioning. Air conditioning units can be costly depending on the model you opt for, along with the cost of labour for instalment. However, if you do a little extra research, you are likely to find deals that will enable you to install a high-quality unit for a more reasonable price. Many units also double-up as a heater which is ideal for use all year round, providing even more value for money.
While the most significant benefit of air conditioning is the ability to maintain a steady temperature, units do come alongside many more advantages. They reduce the amount of pollen, mould and mildew that can circulate the home, which in turn, creates cleaner air. Filtering the air from allergens is ideal for those who have asthma as it reduces the likelihood of an asthma attack.
If you’re interested in fitting a unit, Heath Electrical Services specialise in air conditioning in Milton Keynes. The team are always more than happy to visit your site to determine the best models to fit your requirements.
2. Turn Off Unused Electricals
Although it may not seem like a significant contributing factor, large-scale commercial electrical equipment can produce a lot of wasted heat. Devices such as printers, computers, scanners and televisions are all essential in the office, yet are capable of producing a wasted 20% of energy in the form of heat. If you are a laptop user, then you will be familiar with how hot the base of the device can get when resting on your lap – multiply this by every electronic in the workplace, combined with the existing outdoor heat from the sun.
Opting to turn off all electronics when they are not in use will most definitely contribute towards cooling the room. It is also ideal for limited wasted electricity; therefore, reducing bills and your office’s carbon footprint.
3. Dress Suited To The Weather
If you know that it’s extremely hot outside and that you have no cooling system in your office, then it’s important that you dress suited to the temperature. Keep in mind that the warmest time of the day around 3 pm, which means that if you are feeling warm when you wake up in the morning, it is only going to get worse.
It can often be somewhat tricky to find cool clothing that also fits the formal attire required in the workplace. Some of the most common smart clothing includes suits, fitted dresses and skirts which can leave you sweltering in high temperatures. When considering clothing during the Summer, pay careful attention to the material that they are made from. Some of the most breathable fabrics include the following:
- Cotton – Cotton is a super lightweight material which is not only soft but also allows heat to escape from the body. The majority of formal shirts and blouses are made from cotton, which is ideal for the warmer months. It means you can still wear the clothing you have in your wardrobe, but perhaps skip the heavy blazer on top.
- Linen – Linen is widely known for the best ‘holiday clothing’ material. While the majority of linen items are loose in fit, they can still look smart when worn to work. The material absorbs moisture which keeps the body dry and will not stick to the body if you begin to sweat.
- Rayon – A less well-known material, but great in warmer temperatures. Rayon is a fabric-blend made from a combination of cotton, wood pulp and natural fibres. The appearance is incredibly similar to silk, yet considerably cheaper, making it perfect for formal clothing.
4. Stay Hydrated
Unfortunately, as the weather rises in temperature, you will begin to sweat, which means that the body starts to lose a considerable amount of water. Due to this, it becomes incredibly easy for individuals to become dehydrated, even while sitting at a desk.
There are many different signs of dehydration, including feeling tired and dizzy with a headache; all of which make it increasingly tricky to concentrate. More information on the symptoms of dehydration can be found on the Mayo Clinic website.
To avoid dehydration, it is imperative to ensure that you consume your daily intake of water. Many different apps are now available, which not only estimate your ideal intake amount but also send regular reminders that another glass is due. Healthline has a great article on the best hydration apps of 2019.
It is important also to highlight that as stated in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992; employers must provide drinking water in the workplace. If you do not have a supply of water, then it is most definitely recommended to look at places such as Water Coolers Direct.
5. Make The Most Out Of Ice
Ice is your best friend in the heat; it is one of the best things to keep you cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, place a large bowl of ice in front of a fan, and it will bow out cold air just like an air-con unit would.
As well as this, iced water can be put in your drinks to cool you down. Or wrap ice up in a tea towel and rub it over your body temperature pressure points every few hours to cool your body down. Not sure where your body’s temperature pressure points are? Take a look at the Dr Angela Foran website.
6. Have A Personal Fan
If you’re struggling to keep cool while sitting at your desk, a plug-in fan would be a great option to consider. Fans vary in size, price and colour based on your requirements, meaning you can pick up models for as little as £10 from retailers such as Currys.
As well as large plug-in fans, you can even purchase tiny desk fans that can be plugged in or are battery-powered. They can be clipped onto the side of your computer, or placed next to you on an adjustable stand. We love the USB desk fans available on CPC!
7. Draw Blinds Or Curtains
Although at first, you may feel reluctant to block out the sun and outdoor view, closing the curtains, blinds or office can work effectively at cooling the room. By doing this, you are reducing the amount of sunlight and heat that can come through the windows. Allowing sunlight to shine through all day will create the equivalent to a ‘greenhouse effect’ meaning that the room will continue to rise in temperature.
8. Use An Aluminium Mouse Pad
While aluminium is widely known for keeping food warm such as takeaway items, it can also work the opposite way in terms of keeping cool. Thanks to this, there are now many different mouse pads available which are made using aluminium to keep your wrists cold.
Cooling the wrists is one of the most effective ways to prevent the body from overheating, even in the hottest of temperatures. While the most popular method to cool wrists is through running the arm under cold water, this can be somewhat tricky to maintain when sitting in an office – this is where using an aluminium mouse pad comes in super handy.
The wrist is the most common pulse point, which means that applying something cold to this area lowers the temperature of the blood in the arms. As a result, the cooled blood will recirculate into the body’s bloodstream and keep your temperature down for around an hour.
9. Avoid A Heavy Lunch
While you may be tempted to treat yourself to a fast-food lunch to keep you fuelled, it will not work towards your advantage in warmer weather conditions. Not only does digestion require a lot of energy, but the body also creates metabolic heat, which means the heavier the meal, the more your temperature will rise.
With the above in mind, it is recommended to avoid a large lunch during the Summer. Instead, opt for filling and nutritious, but light meals. Salads with the topping of your choice are always one of the best light lunch ideas, along with wraps and ‘buddha bowls’.
10. Utilise Cool Evening Air
As the day reaches a close, temperatures begin to lower, and you can notice a refreshing breeze. The cool evening air provides the perfect opportunity to allow fresh air into the office to circulate and clear the stuffy atmosphere. Employees that work a later shift would most definitely benefit from opening the windows for a few hours before they go home.
Keep Your Office Cool, One Tip At A Time!
Following our top ten tips is guaranteed to help your office to cool down, creating a comfortable working environment. It is also beneficial to experiment with each method to allow employees to find a cooling technique that works best for them. If you are yet to invest in air conditioning but are planning to install a unit, our electricians in Milton Keynes are just a phone call away!