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Air in there: How HVAC systems make office staff happier and more productive

Air quality: it matters. We spend around 90% of our time on average indoors, and the degree of comfort we enjoy in our workplaces is a serious deal indeed – people tire when hot, and studies show as much as a 4% drop on productivity per degree of increased temperature above average indoors. Shoppers, too, are happier when premises are cooled, spending more time purchasing and browsing.

Today we’re going through more of these benefits in greater detail. Particularly with the tax relief benefits available in the UK via the ECA scheme, there’s never been a better time to invest in air conditioning and HVAC systems to boost sales and productivity.

The connection between productivity and air quality

We can all agree: a cool, fresh office is a lovely place to be. The alternative of a hellish sweatbox is far from ideal! Interestingly for office managers and business owners, it’s an area that you can improve to directly increase the productivity of your teams.

A 2004 study titled Energy and Buildings supports this. The main factors of air quality as we perceive it – pollution levels, temperature and airflow – are hugely important in improving wellbeing and productivity.

The study found that better air quality consistently improved productivity levels as the quality improved – and that their model’s ‘minimal outdoor airflow rate’ led to a staggering 13% maximum loss in productivity. Even more interestingly, it concluded that a 1% loss in productivity for a business is equivalent to the total annual costs of maintaining an effective air-conditioning system.

A similar study, Indoor Temperature, Productivity and Fatigue in Office Tasks (2007), found that an increase of just 1°C above the recommended average in a call centre led to a 2.1% decline in performance.

There’s an important point we should make here: calculating performance as relates to air quality isn’t an exact science, and it’s a pretty involved field that takes a lot of variables into account. What we can see, though, is that there are lots of studies over several decades that all show the same trend: people are happier and work better when there’s a solid air conditioning system in use.

The case for investing in wellbeing

Budgets matter, and it’s fair to say that HVAC and air conditioning systems come at a cost. What we’re seeing across the UK and global industry, however, is just how effective an investment a modern system is.

Nowadays, great staff are hard to keep. A study in 2016 found that 40% of employers regularly struggle with talent shortages, and we’ve shifted by and large from a culture where staff stay in one company for most of their careers to one where the average stint with a business is as little as two to three years (Royale is an exception to the rule; many of our team have been with us well over a decade!). 

Turnover also costs companies big. A study published by the pharmaceutical giant Merck concluded that turnover of a staff member cost them as much as 250% of their annual salary. It’s a matter that’s important for small businesses and large corporations both, with start-ups and local companies often relying on the talents of single members of staff to succeed, and larger companies relying on consistency and reliability in their teams to help balance large budgets and cashflow.

While we’re not touting a brand-new air-conditioning system as a complete solution to this kind of modern challenge, it does play a direct role in making your clients and team members comfortable and content in the workplace. As is often the case in business and life, it’s almost invisible when it’s done right, and its absence is immediately noticed!

Royale – Supporting happy offices since 1987!

A little more on why our kind of work matters so much. We hope you’ve found it interesting! It’s always lovely to see our work make a difference to great businesses and organisations across the UK, and we’re proud of our experienced team that has, in many cases, been with our company for a decade or more.

If you think we can help you with your HVAC and air conditioning needs, give us a ring on 01635 551446 or email us at [email protected]. We’re always happy to offer advice at no obligation.