Air with incorrect humidity levels can have a number of strange and unexpected effects on your office.
When it comes to your staff poor humidity levels can lead to headaches, more frequent or severe asthma attacks, itchy skin, lethargy and exhaustion. Poor office humidity can also cause electrical equipment to mysteriously short out. Thankfully we have put together a list of the different effects high and low humidity can have on your office environment and the measures you can take to counter them.
How Can Humidity Affect Your Workplace?
The most noticeable way in which poor humidity levels can affect your workplace is the wellbeing of your staff. In some cases it can also damage the building itself or the equipment contained in it. Finding out more about the effects of poor humidity can help you deal with it more efficiently. This can in turn create a better working environment for your staff.
High humidity is generally found in warmer climates. It can also be artificially created by improperly programmed air conditioning systems or poor ventilation. High humidity starts at around 50% and can have extremely detrimental effects. These include:
Increased mould growth – A warm and moisture rich atmosphere is an ideal breeding ground for mould. Not only can this be unsightly and smelly but it can also affect people’s health. Mould spores can cause stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation and even serious lung infections.
Heat related illness – High humidity can also intensify the feeling of heat. This effect can also lead to an increase in the frequency and severity of heat-related illnesses. Problems such as heat rash, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can all increase. An overly warm environment can also make people feel lethargic. This can then effect their efficiency and productivity.
High levels of condensation – High atmospheric moisture levels can lead to a large amount of condensation forming on building interiors. If this is left unattended it can have a serious impact on interior building materials.
Low humidity is often found in cooler climates. It can also be created in offices with lots of electrical equipment and improperly designed air conditioning systems. Low humidity can be classed as anything below 30% and can have multiple detrimental effects. These include:
General health complaints – Dry air can have a number of detrimental effects on an individual’s health. People can experience sore eyes, dry throats, dry and itchy skin, headaches and congested noses. All of which can negatively affect productivity in the workplace.
Static electricity build up – In buildings with synthetic carpeting an arid atmosphere can be conducive to creating static electricity. Other than causing annoying shocks static electricity can also short out electrical equipment. It can even cause a strange phenomena where people develop itchy, flea bite like marks on their ankles.
How to Improve Your Office Humidity Levels
It’s all well and good knowing the effects high or low humidity can have on your office environment but what can you do to prevent it from occurring? There are a few simple steps you can take:
Use air monitoring tests – These will allow you to check the atmosphere in each area of your office. Humidity levels can vary depending upon many different variables so should be measured on a room by room basis. Do this at multiple times during the day too as humidity can vary based on natural moisture levels and air temperature.
Perform regular building walkthroughs – Walkthroughs will help you identify and deal with any odours, leaks or water damage. Also make sure any HVAC equipment is working properly.
Check your employees comfort levels – They will often have noticed things that you will not on a quick walk around.
Don’t forget that All Seasons Hire hire and rent all manner of humidifying and dehumidifying equipment to suit your needs. With a free site survey thrown in with our rentals you can be sure that your buildings air is being correctly conditioned. Check out our dehumidifier range or evaporative cooler (humidifier) range for more information.
Written by Ryan Hill