On a warm spring day, there’s nothing better than breathing in the fresh air while at work; whether you choose to walk some or all of your commute, or pop out to sit or stroll on your lunch break. It’s unlikely however, that the windows inside your office open, meaning breathing in that fresh air is restricted to lunch breaks and journeys to and from work.

However, there’s a case that more office windows should be opening-and-closing ones, so as to not only cut costs on cooling and heating technologies, but to also improve employee happiness and productivity.

So why don’t many office buildings have opening windows?

There’s a list of reasons why many office buildings leave employees boxed in with the only ‘fresh’ air coming from artificial sources like air-con units and fans. One of the main reasons that spring to mind is safety; as many office buildings are high rise, windows don’t open due to the safety risk and the owner of the building being liable if an accident were to happen.

Also, fixed windows that don’t open are cheaper, and covering a large office building in glass for a sleek, professional aesthetic is expensive as it is. The exterior glass also looks better when streamlined, portraying a more corporate look to visitors or clients etc. hence why so many choose this look.

Finally, an open window brings noise, draughts and can be harmful in spring and summer for hayfever sufferers who sneeze at exposure to pollen. All of these factors can be distracting for employees, hence why architects go for non-opening windows to reduce noise pollution, entrances for irritating insects, and exposure to the elements.

Reasons for having opening-windows in the office

For many of the aforementioned reasons, it seems reasonable to opt for air con units instead of the great outdoors for ventilation, but there are many advantages to having opening-windows in the workplace.

Firstly, well-ventilated buildings can actually halve energy use, saving the company a huge amount of money in the long-run. Installing window switches can optimize temperature and ventilation by working hand-in-hand with air-conditioning systems, switching them off in an area when windows are open.

Fresh air and ventilation from outside can also increase employee productivity by up to 11%, according to a study by the Centre for the Built Environment. Working in a well-ventilated space compared to a stuffy office room must be better for you right? The extra oxygen you get from open windows can make you feel more alert, allowing you to pass on that caffeine-heavy coffee in the morning.

To reduce distractions from outside, you can install insect screens to windows which are discreet, and keep out annoying buzzing insects, and create some sort of barrier for pollen too. Hay-fever sufferers should share concerns if necessary and request a different working station away from a window if it becomes a real problem.

Finally, for the exterior aesthetic side of things, there are worlds of window designs that can still be attractive, like sliding styles for example. 

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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