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Air conditioning is a must for hybrid workers returning to the office

Samsung Climate Solutions has revealed the results of bespoke research which finds that although almost two-thirds (64%) of workers in the UK with hybrid working patterns are planning to spend more time in the office in 2023 than in 2022, 66% would be deterred from heading to the office if the air conditioning wasn’t working or was of their opinion low quality.

Against a backdrop of increased levels of office occupancy from previous years, and temperatures remaining at record levels in the UK, the need for quality climate control within the working environment will be a key factor for attracting more of those who want to be back with their professional peers in the office.

Among those putting in more days in the office, the difference from 2022 is considerable with the average being 9.2 extra days per month in 2023. This is particularly important to 18 to 24-year-olds of which 81% of those surveyed said they were planning more face-to-face days with their co-workers, highlighting the increasing importance of in person work and collaboration.

Almost half (46%) of those surveyed planned to take advantage of office air conditioning if there is a repeat heatwave this summer. It is clear to see how many hybrid workers appreciate a cool working environment as 35% said they go in when the weather is hot to make use of the air conditioning.

Given this demand, the quality of office environments is more vital than ever. 24% of hybrid workers were not satisfied with their office air conditioning, and of those 40% reported that it is often not functioning properly. Interestingly, almost a third (31%) of hybrid workers who have experienced problems with air conditioning say the problem is cold draughts.

Steve Fleming, Head of Climate Solutions UK & Ireland, commented: “As the UK adapts to changing working patterns and changing weather patterns, the importance of advanced technology in cooling will only increase. Businesses looking to attract workers into the office on a regular basis will gain significantly from quality climate control technology in the months and years to come. Such technologies include Samsung’s WindFreeTM cooling, which disperses the cool air evenly through an office without the stereotypical cold draughts that people complain about. There is a huge opportunity here to cope with demand as people return to the office to make our working and social spaces as comfortable as possible.”

Furthermore, control systems will have a key role in office comfort. The research reveals that just under half (42%) of hybrid workers in the UK have had a dispute about the air conditioning. A third of respondents (34%) have argued with colleagues about what temperature the room should be set at and just under a quarter (24%) have complained about the temperature going up and down due to people constantly altering it.

Interestingly, the most common trigger for the dispute is individuals setting the thermostat to suit themselves (37%).Over half (55%) of hybrid workers say that their offices have a single control system to manage the temperature for the whole working space. Only a third (36%) have systems that allow them to control the temperature by office area and only a quarter of offices have a democratic approach to controlling the temperature in their workspace, allowing each employee to cast an equal vote. However, this progressive approach doesn’t apply everywhere. 15% of respondents stated that in their offices, the boss will be in charge of setting the temperature.

As the hybrid working landscape changes, workers are adjusting their lifestyles to best suit their work-life balance, especially as the UK climate changes too. This is changing our expectations of public spaces, from offices to gyms, as more than half (57%) of hybrid workers in the UK (rising to almost two thirds (62%) among women) would avoid a gym where the air conditioning wasn’t up to their standard. Almost a half (45%) say they’d avoid a restaurant or pub with a similar problem and almost a quarter (24%) would side-step a shop.

Building cloud management services, such as Samsung’s b.IoT interface which allows remote, zoned control for commercial buildings, will enable companies to manage office environments for the benefit of all employees. Technology is rapidly advancing to best suit the needs and demands of the changing climate and this data illustrates the importance of climate control for the modern hybrid worker.


10 August 2023


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