There is no doubt summer heat affects people in their jobs. Regrettably, about two people die each year working outdoors in a hot environment. But if your staff works indoors, did you know heat actually kills more frequently? It’s not killing people though, it is killing productivity.
Is yours one of more than 120,000 SMEs in Western Sydney about to face another summer season? If so, how much have you thought about hiring portable air conditioning to combat the effects of heat on your most valuable asset – your staff?
This year, take a step back and ask yourself:
- Are areas of my worksite not cooled effectively?
- How badly does my business get affected by hot weather?
- What signs do I need to look out for in my staff?
- What should I do about it?
- In the end, what do we all gain from it?
What the Data Says
Scientific data has proven that temperature and humidity at the workplace directly impact worker productivity. It is generally suggested that workspaces in the Sydney summer should be cooled to a temperature around 20° or 21°.
When air conditioning can’t properly reach sections of your workplace, and they become too hot, or worse still the system might break down, employees could suffer from any number of issues common with heat stress and exhaustion. But symptoms may be too slight for you to notice it happening.
Another potential productivity breaker is humidity. Low humidity can cause itchy or dry skin and increase workers’ vulnerability to cold and infection, whereas high humidity can often feel like a sauna. Air conditioning can beat this with in-built systems to maintain humidity at the ideal 40-60% level.
Signs of Heat Discomfort
Since we have determined heat stress and exhaustion can creep up and be hard to spot, it is a good idea to act before an emergency arises. So what are some of the less noticeable early-warning signs that can show up in your staff to suggest portable air conditioning may be the best solution? Consider these:
- Heat rashes (this can include sunburn)
- Cramps – dehydration can cause painful muscle spasms and perspiration
- Sight issues including blurred vision
- General exhaustion
- Slurred speech
- Reduced ability to think quickly or clearly
Can Portable Air Conditioning Help?
We can’t control nature. It turns up the temperature at will. But we do have portable air-con to bring down the indoor work temperature rapidly. This may help stay on top of worker discomfort issues when a heat spike hits. Whether in an office or production plant, heat often has the same effect.
Sydney has a rich mix of offices, industry, hotels and accommodations, shopping malls, showrooms and many other types of workplaces that need a solution. Portable air conditioning has pre-selected temperature control to help you maintain what you perceive as a suitable operating temperature environment in hot spots as soon as it is reached.
Potential Benefits of Portable Air Conditioners at the Workplace
Some of the potential benefits of adding portable air conditioners to regulate workplace temperature include:
Body Temperature and Hydration
Any sudden increase in body temperature can lead to dehydration. This can affect skills and judgement, so a portable air conditioning unit may be useful to keep the environment temperature within suitable parameters.
Airborne particles, gases and fumes from external areas can enter an office or showroom zones. A good air conditioning system promotes the circulation of clean and fresh air by removing stale and particle-laden air.
Reducing the temperature of your premises to your chosen ‘comfortable’ level can improve metabolism and reduce sluggishness.
Immune System Gains
Germs spread faster in rooms with poor air circulation. A portable air conditioning unit can circulate air more effectively and possibly mitigate the spread of germs.
Willingness to Come to Work
It’s a cliche, but a very true one. Staff that enjoy their jobs and actually look forward to coming to work pretty much ensure the business is ticking over smoothly and productivity is maximised.
Lower Workplace Injury Claims and Sick Leave
We doubt you ever want to see any employee with reason to lodge an injury claim. But when you consider that about $6bn in workplace productivity is lost each year due to heat stress, portable air conditioning – whether permanent or temporary – is likely to make a positive difference.
Better Functioning Equipment
Keep in mind your machines and equipment also contribute greatly to the productivity of your business. Sudden spikes in production area heat can cause all manner of operating issues. Whether it is perishables, control modules, oils and lubricants, hydraulics, sensitive monitoring equipment, IT software and hardware and other assets, sudden heat spikes can mess with performance and quality of output.
While there are no specific workplace temperature laws, it’s clear that workers perform best when they are relaxed, healthy, and stable. Machines and equipment operation is optimised at comfortable temperature bands. Summer temperatures in Western Sydney often get close to 40℃ and sometimes even surpass this well into the high 40s.
With a portable air conditioning unit – whether a permanent system or a seasonal hire solution – your staff are bound to remain comfortable, they are likely to feel healthier and happier to be there, and this will most probably be reflected by business productivity. Precision Air Rental stocks a range of portable air conditioners and cooling systems to help keep your staff productive and your equipment safe.