Journalists based at IPC’s Kings Reach Tower headquarters were told they could pack up and go home early on Monday after the air conditioning broke down on one of the hottest days of the year.
The day after the heatwave made headlines, with temperatures in Britain reaching an all-time high of 100°F, staff at IPC arrived in work on Monday morning to be told “Chillers out of Action”.
An official e-mail was sent to staff saying that, “despite powering up in the normal way earlier this morning following the weekend electrical work, our facilities team report that the chillers controlling KRT’s air conditioning are not operating to full capacity. Engineers are now working to rectify the problem, and they expect to have the chillers up and running again asap.” It added: “Facilities apologise for the discomfort this will cause while the chillers are out of action.”
Staff, many of whom were sweltering by this point, were told they would be kept updated throughout the morning on the progress of the work but by 4pm there was an announcement over the public address system saying that “subject to local management permission”, everyone could go home early.
The announcement could not have come soon enough for some. A source said: “Most people had buggered off by then. It was absolutely baking.”
Some staff, including an editor who placed three fans on his desk to keep cool, were not so lucky, and decided to stick it out to meet deadlines.
By Ruth Addicott