Indoor labour productivity

Explanation of the problem

Many people work in buildings. During a heatwave, indoor temperatures can rise significantly. This occurs especially in buildings with poor insulation, dark roofs, a lot of glass, limited ventilation options, no air conditioning, no sun protection, and in spaces on the top floors. Many modern, well-insulated buildings with a lot of glass cannot dissipate the captured heat. As a result, during hot days, more short breaks are taken, workers may struggle to concentrate, and the likelihood of errors and accidents increases. This leads to health problems and a loss of labour productivity. This effect is not only relevant for managers of office and industrial buildings but also applies to schools, childcare facilities, and nursing homes.

Information and maps for better understanding

Basic maps according to the standardized stress test

  • Map showing the number of warm nights per year (Climate Impact Atlas) → provides insight into the number of warm nights in the built-up area, now and in the future. If it doesn’t cool down outside at night, it becomes more challenging to keep buildings, offices, and industrial premises comfortably cool.

Additional maps

  • Map showing the number of summer or tropical days now and in the future (Climate Impact Atlas) → gives an indication of the increase in the number of days with reduced labour productivity.
  • Maps with information about buildings (such as construction year and energy labels) → to estimate which buildings are poorly insulated and become uncomfortably warm, leading to a decrease in labour productivity.

Some measures and guidelines

  • Targeted information on cooling measures for building owners and users.
  • Building adjustments such as:
      • Sun protection (preferably outside than inside) and installing overhangs to prevent excessive heat from entering (especially important in well-insulated buildings with a lot of sunlight).
      • Installing active or passive ventilation.
      • Implementing green/blue roofs and facades to prevent internal climate warming.
  • Assess the heat stress situation at work (see labour union FNV Work Climate app (in Dutch)).
  • Implementing a hot weather schedule: not working during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Adjusting work activities.
  • See also tips from the Dutch labour union FNV (in Dutch) and the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (in Dutch).