The ambient temperature in an office premises can have a significant impact on the productivity of employees. It can be difficult to cater to the air conditioning needs of each employee in a large-sized organization. This creates a recipe for office disputes between employees who won't seem to agree on the most comfortable range of temperature for the office.
Here are a few things you can do to keep these disputes at bay.
Manipulate The Vents
The air-conditioning wars in your office are a direct result of the quantity of cool air getting into the premises through the vents. Employees whose work stations are located close to the vents will receive more of the cool air as compared to those who seat far from the vents. Such employees are more likely to complain that the office is too cold for their liking.
If it's not possible to change the position of the work station, you might want to consider blocking the flow of air by shutting off the "problematic" vent. As you plan to do this, remember that shutting off several vents might have a negative impact on airflow within the premises. Thus, you might want to do this sparingly.
Independent (Programmable) Thermostats
Perhaps the most effective solution to air-conditioning disputes in the office is to install independent thermostats that will control the temperature setting in different sections of the office premises.
Talk to your employees about their preferred thermostat setting and ensure that their seating arrangement reflects this preference. With independent thermostats, employees can adjust the thermostat setting in their section without interfering with the thermostat setting in the next section.
If you choose to install independent thermostats, consider investing in programmable thermostats as opposed to their manual-style counterparts. Employees will easily forget to adjust the temperature setting in a manual-style thermostat when they're leaving for home. Programmable thermostats will do this automatically to avert wastage of energy when there's little or no employee activity within the premises (e.g. at night).
Manipulate The Duct Work
Finally, you can manipulate the duct work in commercial air conditioning systems to create a more comfortable work environment for your employees. The ducts in air conditioning systems have dampers that regulate the amount of air flowing through various air outlets.
Manipulating the duct work involves closing and/or opening of dampers so that airflow from the various outlets is increased or reduced. This is a relatively technical exercise. You should enlist the services of a qualified HVAC contractor if it's to be done right.