We often pay attention to the pollution we breathe when we’re outdoors. However, we usually don’t worry about the quality of the air we breathe when we’re at our workplace.
We often overlook the importance of indoor air quality in building a solid working environment. The quality of air within the premises of your office will impact the productivity and overall health of your employees, no matter how small or big your business is. Keep in mind that bad air makes you bad at your job. Thus, superb air quality is vital to achieving a healthy work environment.
Bad quality of air in your office setting may lead to workers experiencing headaches, allergic reactions, throat or eye irritation, as well as mental and physical fatigue. On the other hand, clean and fresh air can improve the health of everyone in the office. Read on to find out more.
What Makes The Air Quality In A Workplace Poor?
Several factors contribute to air pollution in your office. These include the following:
- The location of the building. The area around your office building may exhibit signs of dangerous pollutants. Highways, for example, can be a cause of particular toxic elements aside from the pollutants present in other structures nearby. Industrial areas are also sources of chemical pollutants.
- Not enough ventilation. Two of the most crucial elements in setting air quality are the abundance of cleanliness and fresh air. Having a well-kept and efficient ventilation system can go a long way. It can help circulate stale air and replace it with fresh portions. These systems are not meant to get rid of massive amounts of air contaminants. However, they can adequately reduce the level of air contamination in your workplace.
- Renovation activities in the building or surrounding area. When a structure is undergoing renovation activities like painting, it will emit construction material by-products. Dust is a good example of the pollutant source, which may wander throughout the building.
- System design and maintenance. Any building will often undergo negative pressure when its HVAC system is not working properly. If that’s the case, particulates, humid air, and other pollutants outside will infiltrate the structure. Moreover, it will require some updating to support any changes when your company redesigns or renovates office spaces.
- Office furnishings. Cabinets and pieces of furniture made from pressed-wood materials may release air pollutants.
Pollutants That May Be Affecting The Health Of Your Workers
As much as you try to make your workspace debris and dust-free with regular dusting, it’s not enough to take care of airborne particles, such as allergens and dust mites. The presence of these can cause eye irritation, wheezing, headaches, breathing problems, severe allergies, and other health issues.
The air in your office probably contains Formaldehyde, Benzene, Acetone, and other toxic chemicals. Additionally, some building materials, solvents, furniture, and disinfectants also emit these chemicals, which may harm everyone in the office over time.
Air contains moisture, but what indicates if it’s dangerous or not is its level. High humidity is the perfect condition for bacteria, fungi, and dust mites to grow. On the other hand, low humidity can cause dry skin, eye infection, and rashes. So, it’s crucial to keep the humidity indoors at optimal levels to ensure your staff does not suffer from any illness.
Fungi and viruses love to breed in dark corners and damp spaces. Detecting the breeding grounds of these microbes is often challenging. However, it is vital to determine these areas since their presence can promote diseases and infections.
CO2 is everywhere and we exhale a substantial amount of this gas daily. Maintaining it at the best possible level can be quite difficult when you’re indoors. You or your employees may experience dizziness, shortness of breath, and hyperventilation when exposed to extreme levels of this greenhouse gas.
What Are The Impacts Of Indoor Air Pollution For An Employee?
Exposure to air pollution can reduce employee productivity. Hence, it’s not just a nuisance to workers, but costly to your business as well because of absenteeism and the need for medical care.
Indoor air pollution may likely lead to health complications, such as a sinus infection, headaches, respiratory concerns, and sometimes lung problems. As a result, the attendance of your employees may be affected. Also, they may often ask for sick leaves.
Effects On Health
Keeping the air quality in your workspace at its best can help ensure your team stays healthy. Always remember that the air we breathe inside is typically more contaminated than outdoors. It carries a wide variety of harmful particles that may put our health at risk. These particles include animal dander, dust, pollen, and bacteria, to name a few.
Breathing polluted air can make your staff more prone to flu, cold, headache, dizziness, as well as nose and eye irritations. Exposing yourself to poor indoor air for an extended period may even lead to serious conditions, which may include lung cancer, heart disease, and chronic bronchitis.
Your workers may become ill frequently if they are exposed to an unhealthy work setting. Additionally, it will also increase the number of times they’ll file for sick leaves. As a result, your company’s productivity can go down significantly.
Effects On Mood
Air pollutants in your office can also hurt the cognitive abilities and mood of your employees. It’s one of the causes of poor concentration, mood swings, and fatigue. As a result, you’ll have a work atmosphere of unhappy employees with low productivity.
Furthermore, your employees may feel like you’re not concerned about their health if they’re regularly exposed to harmful air. This can also lead to them not feeling motivated to perform better at their jobs.
Ways Of Reducing The Level Of Indoor Air Pollution
Increasing the amount of outdoor air in a building is one of the best solutions to improve indoor air quality and employee productivity. However, outdoor air also carries pollutants, including exhaust fumes, pollen, and mold. You can avoid this with the following:
- Control the source. The most effective way to reduce the issue drastically is to first identify the source of your bad indoor air. Check to see if there are leaks, damages, and likely contaminants when you’re walking around your office. Make sure that building maintenance is regularly vacuuming the carpets and washing the hard floors. Also, consider banning smoking indoors. Instead, provide your smoker workers with a properly ventilated area for smoking breaks.
- Improve the ventilation of your workplace. You’ll see a massive improvement in the quality of air in your workplace if the HVAC systems are functioning at their best. If your space has inadequate ventilation, contaminants may be carried in from outside.
- Air cleaning. Aside from improving ventilation and eliminating the source, you can promote a healthy working situation by air cleaning. Installing a high-quality air purifier like the Coway Airmega 400 with HEPA air filter and activated carbon can significantly decrease the exposure of your employees to indoor and outdoor pollution sources. Learn more by reading the article on the Airmega 400 by Coway air purifier – a detailed review.
You can improve air quality in your workplace environment by ensuring your building has proper ventilation to let fresh air in. It’s also a good idea to invest in smart air purifiers to keep the air in your office fresh so that the health and productivity of your workers will always be at its best.