Business owners and employees should carefully consider indoor air quality when they are at work. Since people spend up to 90 percent of their time at work, maintaining positive indoor air quality is important. Personal healthy, safety, and environmental impact are three reasons you should care about your office’s indoor air quality.
Poor Indoor Air Quality Can Make You Sick
Just as they can contribute to poor indoor air quality in the home, HVAC systems in the workplace experience similar issues. Individuals are often breathing the same air and without proper installation, service, or repair of the HVAC system, indoor air quality may suffer in the workplace.
Since people tend to work long hours, a building that has poor air quality can lead to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). SBS can result in people getting headaches and feeling fatigued by the end of the day. Such symptoms can make concentrating difficult, which translates to productivity issues. People can also increase the number of sick days they take due to illnesses exacerbated by SBS. Consequently, taking proactive steps to keep the air clean is important.
Poor Indoor Air Quality Makes Working Conditions Unsafe
An HVAC system is only one potential cause for indoor air quality problems. Policies or objects already in the office can bring down an office’s indoor air quality. Most of these considerations are ones that no one takes into account including the following:
Furniture placed against vents or grates can block air flow in the office. This placement leads to cross-contamination. Office equipment that has a fan and does not have proper ventilation can also collect dust and release it into the office.
Smoking exacerbates asthma and other illnesses. Offices that lack an effective smoking policy on the grounds of a business risk lowering indoor air quality.
Improper disposal of food and garbage can also be problematic.
Bringing anything with an offensive fragrance or odor into the workplace can impact indoor air quality.
Air Quality Problems at Work Impact the Environment, Too
The air quality problems inside of the office have an impact on the environment, too. Minor issues that present an environmental hazard include the following:
Cleaning products with chemicals in them
Pressed wood, particle board, and plywood
Air fresheners and other fragrances
Carpets and padding
Pest control efforts
Some of these hazards are relatively easy to resolve. Switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, or asking the building manager to do so, is another solution. Another is to simply forego air fresheners and fragrances. When a pest control comes into the office, technicians should be using non-harmful solutions for pest remediation.
Good indoor air quality translates to a happy and productive office. Addressing some of the issues raised here may need more than simple solutions, but any efforts made will be worth the time taken. Learning about indoor air quality and making efforts to improve it at work can go a long way toward helping the environment and keeping employees in the workplace healthy and safe.