How to create a better indoor climate in the office


How to create a better indoor climate in the office

July 5, 2022

Three things are particularly important to ensure a healthy indoor climate in the workplace according to founder and CEO of Varig Renate Straume.

A healthy indoor climate has high air quality, pleasant temperatures and air humidity, little noise, and proper lighting. And is important for employee performance.

“We spend around 90 per cent of our time indoors. It is therefore highly important for both the health and wellbeing of employees that the office has a healthy indoor climate,” Straume says.

She points to the many negative health consequences of a poor indoor climate. Like fatigue, headache, nausea, and impaired concentration ability.

“In addition, it could lead to the drying of mucous membranes in eyes, nose and throats, making us susceptible for respiratory illnesses,” Straume says.

But what measures could be taken to ensure a healthy indoor climate in your workplace? Straume states there are three key areas, in which small adjustments could provide great effects.

Renate Straume
Renate Straume

1. Temperature

The experience of temperature is individual, as it’s influenced by both personal and environmental factors.

“Everything from one’s metabolism, activity levels and clothing to the local air temperature and humidity impacts how one experiences the office temperature,” Straume says.

It is therefore challenging to please everyone’s needs and preferences. The office “freezing stick” could complain about the cold, whilst others will find the freezing stick’s comfort temperature unpleasantly warm.

“In these situations, the basic rule should be that employees turn to clothing to regulate their own temperature. It is often easier putting more clothing on if it’s cold, rather than removing clothing when it’s warm. Another advice would be to explore the option of seating employees to their preferences, having the freezing sticks placed in closer proximity to the radiator than the drafty entrance,” Straume says.

2. Lighting

According to The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet) all workplaces should have access to daylight and views of the outside. Daylight has a range of positive health implications for us humans. We need it to stay awake and alert, but it also makes us happier and healthier. Among other things it reduces the risk of mental illnesses, such as depression.

“Make sure everyone gets enough daylight exposure each day. Going for a short lunch stroll or having «walk-and-talk»-meetings, are simple measures providing exposure to daylight and a bit of exercise. At the same time it is important to mention that one should avoid too much direct sunlight, due to both temperature and blinding. Use the building’s sun screening. It would also save energy and reduce its CO2-footprint,” she says.

3. Noise

Too much noise in the workplace could torment focus, wellbeing and productivity.

“A study has shown productivity to drop by 66 per cent if we’re partly listening in on a conversation taking place nearby whilst trying to do work that requires concentration. A healthy acoustic environment would on the other hand contribute to promote creativity, collaboration and comfort,” Straume says, before rounding off:

“Most office spaces are equipped with several acoustical elements, such as partitions, panels, and ceiling tiles, which should be used to reduce the office noise levels. It is also important to considerate towards one another, using separate rooms for phone calls and meeting. Small measures could have a huge impact for the indoor climate of your office.”

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