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humid conditions

How high humidity levels can affect productivity in your office

Now that the initial fierce summer heatwave is over for a little while, clouds have often started to gather over the North West. Unfortunately though, that heat hasn’t gone away for good, which means that lots of workplaces are having to deal with exceptionally high humidity levels given how much moisture there is in the air. Humidity levels are often underestimated, but they can have just as much of an effect on our workplaces as heat. Happily though, air conditioning systems present the perfect way to deal with it. Bear with us, and we’ll explain!

How humidity affects your workplace

When it comes to humidity levels, there’s very much a ‘Goldilocks’ standard for workplaces – not to high, not too low. As with temperature in the workplace, UK law doesn’t have an exact measurement for businesses to adhere to. However, ‘high’ humidity starts at around 50%, while 30% humidity is classed as ‘low’, so it’s fair to say the ideal standard should be somewhere in the 40% range.

High humidity can have a range of effects on the workplace, not all of them pleasant! For one thing, high moisture levels can contribute to increased mould growth – mould spores aren’t good news for humans, as they can cause stuffiness, eye and skin irritation, and even serious lung infections. Similarly, moisture-rich conditions provide the ideal breeding ground for dust mites, which can cause allergic and asthmatic reactions in some people. What’s more, high humidity can also aggravate other heat-related illnesses, and damage productivity by making workers feel tired and lethargic.

lethargic employee

The effects of low humidity aren’t necessarily ideal either, but are rather less pronounced than those of high humidity. Exceptionally dry air can cause employees to experience sore eyes, dry throats and headaches. In some buildings (especially those with synthetic carpeting), it can cause a build-up of static electricity. This static electricity has the potential to damage office equipment if it builds to high enough levels, but to be honest those are relatively extreme cases. Most of the time, it’ll manifest in annoying static shocks for employees when they touch certain surfaces capable of retaining the charge, like their keyboards, or metal door handles.

How air conditioning helps with office humidity

The biggest problem with high humidity levels is to do with how our bodies regulate heat. Namely, when it gets too hot, we cool off by sweating. The trouble with having so much moisture in the air is that this makes it difficult for us to perspire, causing us to feel uncomfortable (even ill) and therefore less productive. Now, most modern air conditioning units – like those we install at Askews – use evaporator coils to condense water vapour from the air. This is the main way that they extract moisture from the surrounding atmosphere, regulating the humidity in your office. This means that whether it’s raining or shining in the summer, your air conditioning system never ceases to be important!

We know the value of that here at Askews. Our highly trained heating, cooling and ventilation engineers have years of experience in installing and maintaining air conditioning systems. You can count on us to help you and your staff through the summer! You can click here for a free quote, or simply give us a call today on 01282 863 825, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.

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