Blog10 July 2021

Is your office prepared for a return to normality?

Boris Johnson has confirmed that the working from home directive will be lifted from July 19, opening the door for more people to return to the office over the coming weeks.

Under step four of the Government’s roadmap, employers have been encouraged to “start planning a safe return to the workplace” as part of a measured but highly anticipated switch to normality.

The relaxing of existing guidance includes ending the legal mandate to wear masks and removing the obligation to socially distance, with sector-by-sector advice expected imminently.

To ensure workplaces are Covid-secure, additional stipulations will supplement existing health and safety protocols that were in place prior to the pandemic.

However, officials have already indicated that specific instructions will be given in relation to the importance of ventilation.

With the above in mind and the so-called ‘freedom day’ fast approaching, your estates team or facilities manager should be considering the following:

Ventilation & Air Quality Control

There has arguably never been a time where adequate ventilation has been more necessary in office buildings, communal spaces and many other indoor locations. Maximising the fresh air in a particular area can dramatically reduce the chance of virus transmission and be achieved in three ways:

  • Natural ventilation – this relies on utilising available openings such as doorways, windows and air vents, which can help increase passive air flow.
  • Mechanical ventilation – generally more effective than the above method, mechanical ventilation systems usually comprise of dedicated fans and ductwork connections to help introduce clean air from outside.
  • A combination of the two – often, mechanical ventilation systems can be enhanced by taking advantage of the conditions created by natural exposure to air.

A growing acceptance of the role good ventilation plays in creating a healthy office environment has unquestionably been coupled by a rise in demand for air purification equipment.

Recent studies have highlighted the impact air purifiers can have on employee performance and well-being. At a time where many of your staff may have concerns that are exacerbated by a lengthy absence from the office, a simple air purification arrangement could go a long way to alleviating any lingering anxiety.

Our AP103 Air Purifier removes harmful contaminants and neutralises them inside a built-in reactor chamber, while our AC1600 Air Cleaner utilises HEPA 14 filtration to trap particles and noticeably improve indoor air quality.

Air Conditioning

If your building has been largely unoccupied for the past 16 months, then there is a good chance that your air conditioning system will not perform as it previously had. Permanently installed HVAC equipment requires regular maintenance to guarantee its continued effectiveness, with reduced output a likely side-effect of any forgetfulness or neglect.

Businesses in this situation or similar must ensure that suitable climate control solutions are sought to either support or completely replace a faulty fixed system.

People returning to your office will expect to be cool and comfortable while in their place of work, leaving you with a small window of opportunity to address any issue.

In many instances, our popular Polar Wind and Polar Breeze exhaust tube air conditioners fit the desired criteria and deliver the required cooling capacities.

Other offices may benefit from split type units if the outdoor deployment of a heat exchanger is permissible.

We understand the pressure our clients are under to create a welcoming office environment and have assembled our expansive hire fleet with your people-oriented sector in mind.