The EPA has estimated that billions of dollars are lost each year because of poor air quality in the workplace, which negatively affects the health of office workers. Therefore, indoor air is vital and has been identified as one of the nine key foundations of a healthy office building in a paper issued by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
If most of your day consists of working at a desk, you spend eight or more hours breathing in the air at your workplace. If this is the case, it’s time to look at how your office’s interior air quality affects your health. Maintaining good indoor air quality (IAQ) begins with monitoring the air in the building and progresses to optimizing it. Both of these approaches are more crucial than ever.
What are the Impacts of Poor Air Quality in the Workplace?
One aspect of creating a healthy, comfortable working environment is indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality causes include irregular HVAC maintenance, a lack of ventilation, low-quality air filters, and air pollution sources. According to studies, poor air quality in office buildings reduces employee productivity, increases absenteeism, increases operating expenses, and contributes to chronic conditions such as asthma. Poor air quality in an office setting can come from chemical pollutants in office equipment, furniture, construction materials such as wall and floor coverings, upholstery, and almost every commercially made object in your workplace.
How to Detect Poor Air Quality in the Workplace
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to pinpoint the sources of indoor air pollution, particularly in commercial buildings. Often, facility managers will only detect it when individuals begin to experience IAQ-related illnesses. The methods used to detect potential indoor air quality concerns vary per organization, but they often include the following steps:
- Inspection of the ventilation system to ensure that a suitable volume of external air is taken in and dispersed effectively throughout the region and that the filtering systems are operational.
- Eliminating potential causes of symptoms such as thermal comfort, noise, ergonomics, poor lighting, and so on.
- Checking for contaminants in the air such as asbestos, carbon monoxide, mold, and toxic gases).
How Poor Air Quality Effects Health
Workplace air pollution can influence employees’ attitudes and cognitive capacities. It can induce weariness, mood swings, despair, and lack of attention, resulting in an uncomfortable workplace and poor productivity. In addition, continuous exposure to poor air quality may impact how employees view management’s concerns about their health. Consequently, they may be unmotivated to provide their best work effort. Maintaining good indoor air quality in your business helps your staff stay healthier and more productive and demonstrates that you care about them.
Beyond cognitive issues, poor air quality can cause various health problems. As a result, worker retention may suffer. That is, you must now devote more time to job posting, interviewing, and onboarding of staff.
Poor indoor air quality might lead your employees to become unwell more frequently and take more sick time by contributing to an unpleasant work environment. This can substantially affect your company’s productivity. Unfortunately, Indoor air is often more contaminated than outdoor air. As a result, it contains a variety of particulates that may be dangerous to human health, such as dust particles, germs, pollen, mold, bacteria, viruses, and VOCs. These particles can cause eye and nose irritation, colds, flu, dizziness, and headaches. In addition, prolonged exposure to poor indoor air can result in serious illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and lung cancer. Maintaining good air quality in your office can help ensure your staff stays healthy.
Tips to Improve Air Quality in the Workplace
Whether at home or in the office, clean air is detrimental to your health. Below are a few tips to improve air quality.
Maintain a tidy workplace
Maintaining a clean workplace will reduce mold, dust, allergies, and toxins that may spread via the air. Consider utilizing eco-friendly cleaning solutions that do not emit harmful chemicals into the environment.
Make use of air-cleaning technologies
Having commercial-grade equipment on hand, such as air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers, are an excellent way to maintain high IAQ and avoid the need to pay specialists.
Regularly Replace HVAC Filters
HVAC maintenance is essential to improving workplace air quality. Change the filters regularly to keep dust and other air pollutants from cycling back into the air. Filters that get clogged can disrupt airflow and hasten the accumulation of pollutants in confined environments.
Keep appropriate ventilation in mind
Turn off your HVAC system and open the windows to bring fresh air into the building whenever feasible. Make sure not to block air vents with furniture, storage boxes, seats, or cabinets in front of air vents that may disrupt air circulation, making your office seem stuffy.
Bring in Air Purifying Plants
Indoor plants are also an excellent complement to any business. They are visually appealing, but they may also improve workplace air quality by collecting carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the air.
Conduct frequent air quality checks
Indoor air testing will give you the information and insights you need to make your air quality improvement plan more focused and efficient. Humidity levels, circulation, ventilation, mold development, scents, and water damage are all checked in air quality testing.
Set the Bar High for Air Quality
Indoor air quality should be one of your top priorities in the workplace since it directly impacts your employees’ and staff’s overall health and well-being. Poor air quality can increase the risk of various health issues, ranging from respiratory ailments to infections. In addition, it may potentially jeopardize your mental health. However, you can do many things to improve the IAQ at your workplace. These include maintaining your HVAC system, changing filters regularly, and doing frequent air testing. At Filti, we are on a mission to be the leading manufacturer of high-quality air filtration products. To learn more about our products or place an order, visit our products page.