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Is your office temperature behind your company's SBS?

by , 15 April 2013
'If your staff complains of ailments they experience in the office, but then disappear when they leave the office, you should investigate whether your office environment is unhealthy,' advises the Health and Safety Advisor. Read on to discover which five factors - including office temperature - could be behind your office's sick building syndrome (SBS).

'SBS is a poorly understood phenomenon where people have a range of symptoms related to a certain building, most often a workplace, and there is no specific identifiable cause,' explains an article on the UK's National Health Service's website.

This range of symptoms includes illnesses such as:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus problems
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itching burning eyes

But what causes SBS and what can you do about it?

There're five factors that can make your office unhealthy, writes Helen Starke in the Health and Safety Advisor:

  1. Poor lighting
  2. Poor ventilation
  3. Air conditioning
  4. Offices that are too hot or too cold
  5. Too much noise in the office

And they make sense when you think about it.

After all, if your employees are spending their days stuck in a well-sealed, poorly ventilated building that contains indoor air toxins, it's no wonder they're getting sick.

Take office temperature, for example...

Unless your office temperature is 'just right', it could lead to SBS

When it comes to office temperature, 'comfort is influenced by clothing, the job being undertaken, temperature, humidity and air flow. People may feel uncomfortable if the temperature within an office is either too low or too high. High humidity can create a stuffy, sticky atmosphere and contribute to feelings of tiredness,' explains Starke.

But it's 'not just a comfort thing, warns askmen.com. 'Studies show the temperature in a workplace affects productivity'.

So what's the right temperature?

A general recommendation is that your office temperature should be in the range of 21°C -23°C. However, when outdoor temperatures are higher, it's a good idea to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimise the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors to protect your employees from developing colds and flu.

So there you have it. By understanding what causes SBS and how temperature could be behind your staff's frequent illnesses, you'll be able to turn up the heat and turn your unhealthy office environment into a healthy one.

Click here to find out how you can implement precautionary measures in your office and minimise the causes of SBS

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