Today marks the fifth working day that our office building has been without air conditioning, but we are assured the situation will be rectified today.
It’s not been fun for the folks here – especially when it’s cooler outside than in, and Sydney has been turning on some spectacular summer days over the past week with outside temperatures reaching high 20s. We have been recording temperatures of 30C+ inside our offices for the entire week, with some of the recordings taken at 7am.
It hasn’t been so bad for me, as I was sent home on Tuesday afternoon at around 4pm, and then again on Wednesday at around midday. Temporary cooling units were delivered to our offices late on Tuesday, which were finally connected on Wednesday afternoon. The reason they sent me home was because I am highly allergic to the fibres from the ceiling tiles in our office, which had to be moved in order to install the temporary cooling units. And they had to be moved so that the tube that sucks out the hot air from the room for dissipation can be slid into the roof space.
Moving the ceiling tiles was bad enough. Hot air blowing around in the ceiling space and stirring up the fibres, which are then pumped back into the office as part of the cold air transfer was hideously dangerous to my allergies. Whilst it’s not a life and death scenario, I do break out in ugly big hives when my skin comes in contact with the ceiling tile fibres, and my eyelids and lips have been known to swell up as well. So, as a precautionary measure, I was sent home.
To be honest, I couldn’t complain about working from home. And to be honest, how much work do you think I actually did at home.
I welcomed the unexpected break, during which time I was paid my usual salary with no impact on my annual leave or sick leave days. I saw a few Midday Movies, caught up on Day of Our Lives and The Bold & The Beautiful, and made sure my energy levels were at an optimum by snoozing and eating as required (which were often). But by Friday, I was starting to feel very guilty.
For most of the company, they all soldiered on as best as they could in the stifling conditions. The temporary cooling units were not really cooling the air. The cool air being blown out of these noisy contraptions could only be felt if you were standing directly in front of the vents, where the noise was at a point of unbearable. My colleagues told me stories of swollen legs and ankles, swimming vision, dizzy spells, breathing difficulties and general fatigue while they were in the office slaving away.
I also heard stories of people going out to lunch and not returning, and a lot of my colleagues chose to work from home because it was just too unbearable in the office.
The conditions were so bad that the CEO sent everyone home at 2pm on Friday afternoon, after sitting in the sauna conditions for only 15 minutes.
As I type this, I’m sitting at my desk in the office, in the relatively cool settings of 28C. The air conditioning towers have been repaired and the vents are finally blowing cool air, but the inside temperature is still struggling to get below 25C. I brought in my desk fan today to combat the sub-tropical conditions, which is still on to push the air around my desk.
I’m struggling to stay awake, and have resorted to unloading the work dishwasher to ensure I’m moving out to keep me from falling asleep. I hope the air conditioning continues to work, because people are threatening to quit the company if they are forced to work in these horrid humid conditions any longer!
Updated at 3.40pm
My work phone just rang – it was a "wrong number" – the caller asked for a company called "Cool Change Air Conditioning". I had a loud giggle.