Open plan offices gained popularity in the 1960s under the belief they would drive collaboration and “serendipitous conversations” in the workplace. Throughout the decade, companies of all sizes signed on to the concept, in part because open offices can be easier to maintain.
When it comes to airflow, foot traffic, and overall safety, open offices can be far superior.
Traditional Offices Are Suffering from Airflow Problems and Transmission Concerns After COVID
While there are certainly some advantages to traditional offices, they should be planned out from the start along with the building to truly be effective. In all too many cases, enclosed offices don’t have sufficient service from the HVAC system to keep air circulating the way it should.
This has always been a concern, but it has worsened over the last year.
Even without the threat of a pandemic, people who spend too much time in small, cramped offices have always been susceptible to health complications. This was long understood under the general term “Sick Building Syndrome.” It describes symptoms of illness that arise and persist only while at work.
While the truth behind Sick Building Syndrome was uncertain for years, plenty of experts are coming to the conclusion it arises mainly from indoor air pollution. Indoor air can be ten times more polluted than outdoor air. A well-maintained commercial HVAC system is your biggest defense against contaminants.
Backed by the right equipment, including the best commercial compressor for the job, the HVAC system drives adequate air circulation throughout even the most complex structures. Regular maintenance checks, especially on air filters, help ensure excellent airflow.
All in all, open offices are at a distinct advantage for indoor air quality.
Backed by Remanufactured Compressor Technology, Open Offices Can Have Better Airflow
Because open offices have a large, centralized space, there are fewer hallways and side rooms that can end up in HVAC “dead zones” where not enough air circulates. Cubicles do not inhibit the flow of air as solid walls do. They can also be re-oriented to create additional air pathways and influence flow.
The compressor is the heart of the HVAC system, doing the crucial mechanical work that keeps it going. With this in mind, overworking a compressor can lead to early failure, bringing the system to a halt. A remanufactured compressor can be relied on to operate for 8-10 years, just like a new OEM unit.
A remanufactured commercial compressor meets or exceeds all of the OEM performance standards but comes to you at a fraction of the cost and with a much shorter turnaround time. This allows building managers to keep emergency spares or optimize airflow by spreading work across multiple compressors.
Greater flexibility in timing and budget means large open offices opt for remanufactured compressors in large numbers. You can further enhance the performance of your remanufactured compressor if you make a few tweaks throughout the office environment. Let’s look at some of the best ideas for an open office:
1. Calibrate Your Office to the True Ideal Temperature
The ideal office temperature was long estimated at about 71 degrees. Sadly, this wisdom comes from a different time, when it was common for office workers to wear many layers. According to research performed at Cornell University, the ideal office temperature is now 77.
Researchers determined this by measuring productivity levels and error rates in an office at different temperatures. Unfortunately, many offices have lowered temperatures over the years. The study shows an astonishing 25% error rate for workers typing at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Raising the temperature to 77 from 68 also doubled the time the workers spent keyboarding.
2. Use a Compressor Designed for Partial Load (unloading) Operation or Modulation
Copeland compressors lead the pack when it comes to advanced performance with onboard unloading or modulation capabilities. The compressor unit tailors its output over time to subtle atmospheric changes and system load. This allows for the minimum power output that will achieve the desired results.
In particular, efficiency remains excellent even at extremely low or extremely high occupancy.
A compressor with unloading capabilities also delivers greater consistency in temperature and relative humidity levels. This keeps workers more comfortable in all seasons. Perception of comfort is a factor in sick time spent, including “mental health days” related to the stress experienced in an office job.
3. Use a Smart Thermostat or Smart Building System
A smart thermostat adds to your ability to reach airflow goals while reducing the workload on the compressor. Depending on your HVAC setup, you may be able to use your smart thermostat to set up different temperature zones, precisely track energy usage, and meet environmental standards.
The compressor is the key when it comes to great HVAC performance. To make it work for you at a lower cost and faster procurement time, choose a remanufactured compressor for your open office.