Recently, Manoj had to take two weeks of sick leave due to pneumonia. This was his third such sick leave in last three years, all the times due to pneumonia. I met him during the recent illness and asked him “Why are you getting repeated attacks of pneumonia? What are the doctors saying?” Manoj said “Pneumonia is repeating due to over exposure to AC.” Then, he described “In our office, ACs are kept at very low temperatures. It is centralized AC and so, we can’t control it at our work desks or cabins. Many of us are troubled by this and fall sick very often, but there does not seem to be any solution to this. Our admin department is not able to recognize this as a problem. When we ask them to keep temperature at 22 or 23 degrees, they brush aside our request saying ‘Others feel hot. Hum ko kitne logon ka sunne ka??’. We are suffering due to this apathy.”
This is an obviously a simple thing, but many companies are completely oblivious of this problem. And under this cold attack, their people are being affected adversely crippling their productivity and health, losing valuable time and efficiency.
Many big public buildings have centralized AC systems. In auditoriums and banquet halls, people are seen freezing under chilling temperatures. The attendants express their helplessness to control it. In office environment, centralized AC needs proper design and sensible monitoring of temperature levels.
There are obviously damaging effects of too low AC temperatures but somehow so many companies ignore this fact, may be unknowingly.
1) Increased exposure to artificially low temperatures, affects body rhythm adversely. it has numbing effect and people fall sick often.
2) To combat the effects of AC, consumption of Tea, Coffee increase significantly. Similarly, water intake reduces. This has its own undesirable consequences.
3) When people go out of this AC environment where outside temperature is higher. body’s thermal adjustment goes for a spin. Such suddenly confusing patterns are invitation to health problems.
4) There are well-known environmental effects of AC, contributing to warming of outside surroundings. Even electricity companies suggest keeping AC temperatures to 24 degrees, only if we wish to pay attention.
There was a time when having an AC office was a matter of pride and people used to keep AC at the lowest temperature as if to take revenge of all the hot days they had spent earlier. I think now we should realize the damaging effects of this hidden productivity killer in our offices.