Coronavirus pushed everyone out of the office into their homes. Viruses such as the flu or COVID-19 are spread through the air. But did you know that there are many more pollutants in indoor air other than viruses? Luckily, there are a couple of steps you can take to create a healthy work environment for your employees.
The sick building syndrome, and that was before COVID
Studies show that we spend 90% of our adult lives inside. Almost a quarter of that time is spent at work.Bad indoor air quality can lead to lack of focus, energy, and productivity. It can even lead to worse health complaints, such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, and irritation of eyes, nose or throat. In these cases, people suffer from what we call the ‘sick building syndrome’. As an employer, you want people to feel energetic and motivated. So how can you create an environment that makes that possible? Check out the three most important steps:
Invest in a good ventilation system. This needs to bring fresh air in from outside, filter it from pollutants, and then circulate it inside the building. A standard ventilation system should ensure each person has at least 20 cubic feet per minute of ‘fresh’ air. In buildings with lower rates, air quality is often reported as stuffy and unpleasant. Even if the ventilation system is up to standard, it needs to be maintained and cleaned regularly. One of the causes of polluted air is a lack of maintenance. In these situations, the air that’s circulated will be even worse, causing the sick building syndrome.
– Productivity increases with up to $6,500 per person per year –
Harvard studies show that the performance increase of people who are exposed to 40 cubic feet per minute of fresh air, is equivalent to $6,500 in salary per person per year. The energy costs of achieving that change are less than $40 per person per year. This could even be as low as $1 per person per year when using energy efficient systems. Seems worth the investment right?
- Air quality
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is determined by the presence of harmful chemical and biological pollutants. These can be found in every indoor space throughout the world. We absorb them through breathing, as well as swallowing or even through our skin. Because outdoor sources of air pollution are usually heavily regulated (such as to control smog), indoor air pollution poses a higher human health risk.
So where do these pollutants come from? Common damaging indoor pollutants are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, particular matter (PM), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde. In offices, schools, and residential buildings common sources are:
- Printer emissions
- Pest and rodenticides
- Cleaning supplies
- Personal care products
- Fungal spores
We know that there are a whopping 82,000 chemicals in commercial use, but 85% of these don’t have any health data available. That makes you think right?
– Reduce sickness absence by 57% –
You can improve the indoor air quality by limiting the use of chemical cleaning products, improving ventilation and installing a professional air purification system. With good air quality you can reduce sickness absence by 57%.
- Thermal health
Thermal health encompasses all the factors that influence both comfort and thermal conditions on the general human health. These are influenced by objective factors such as air temperature, mean radiant temperature, air speed, and humidity, as well as subjective factors like metabolic activity level and insulation from clothing.
If the perfect thermal conditions are partially determined by personal factors, how do you establish an effective indoor climate for everyone? With a professional climate regulating system you can control air temperature, humidity, and ventilation. Keep in mind that the human body adapts to maintain a core body temperature of approximately 37℃. Controlling the thermal parameters in your office should be high on your list of priorities.
Do you want to create a healthy environment for your employees? Lynatox helps to control air quality, temperature, and ventilation amongst other things. Schedule a call with one of our specialists to see how we can help you.