In making sure to provide a safe workplace for your employees and promote a positive work experience, it's important to monitor air quality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote working the norm for the last two years or so. However, some industries have found it harder to transition fully. As more and more people get vaccinated, the number of people returning to the office is growing again.
Because COVID-19 spreads primarily through airborne particles, particularly in closed indoor spaces, monitoring the air quality in your office is important to make sure the air you and your employees are breathing is safe.
Why is air quality so important?
According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, poor office air quality can lead to lower productivity rates, more absences, higher operating costs, and a prevalence of chronic health problems among workers. Five things determine office air quality:
- Temperature - The optimal workplace temperature is 21 C or 69 F
- Carbon Dioxide - CO₂ levels should not be higher than 700 pm
- Volatile Organic Compounds - These toxic compounds can be found in office supplies such as aerosol sprays, cleaning products, solvents, copy machines, and so on
- Relative Humidity - Air humidity levels around 40-60% is best
- Particulate Matter - Dust or any other inhalable particles that can obstruct workers' breathing .
Why do these things matter? In this article, we take note of three benefits of monitoring your office's air quality:
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
The number one reason for offices to monitor their air quality is to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Current research indicates that COVID-19 spreads most efficiently through airborne particle droplets. An infected coworker coughing, sneezing, or even breathing in the same room can spread COVID-19 to hundreds of others in the office if the facility does not have sufficient ventilation.
A lot of workers are concerned about getting COVID-19 at the workplace. To help make employees feel safe, offices must ensure their air quality is up to par.
However, the office needs more than fresh air to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While opening windows decreases the risk of infection by 70%, that remaining 30% risk can be a serious headache if a person infected with COVID-19 shows up at work.
Scientists and public health experts believe that the key to keeping down exposure to fine aerosol particles, such as the COVID-19 virus, is a top-notch HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system that filters recirculated air inside the office.
Combined with consistent disinfection of office surfaces like elevator buttons, desks, coffee machines, and the like, an efficient HVAC system is the best way to keep COVID-19 out of your office.
If your office prioritizes sustainability management, some HVAC systems can help you meet your health and safety goals with minimal impact on the environment.
Improve Employee Health and Increase Productivity
Aside from minimizing the spread of COVID-19, good air quality in the office can also improve employee health in general.
Poor air quality can cause or exacerbate chronic health problems among employees, such as heart and respiratory diseases, as well as mental issues such as depression or anxiety.
Employees who suffer from chronic health problems in the office are more likely to miss work than those who do not. When they do show up, they also tend to be less productive than healthy employees.
All of these factors contribute to high absenteeism rates among employees working under bad office air quality conditions, particularly in the winter.
In addition to health benefits, monitoring office air quality can help increase productivity by minimizing distractions and interruptions. Employees are much better able to focus on their daily tasks or projects without worrying about sick coworkers or bad air.
Successful businesses need to prioritize worker health and productivity if they want to stay competitive in their industry. Keeping office air quality high is one way for companies of all sizes to keep employees healthy, productive, and focused on the business goals at hand.
Decrease Operating Costs and Increase Revenue
Keeping your business safe is not just about protecting worker health; it's also about saving money on potential sick days, lost productivity, or turnover rates caused by poor conditions at work.
Employees are also much more likely to remain at a company they believe cares for their health and well-being.
Of course, it's not just about keeping your current workforce healthy; company turnover rates also affect how many new hires you need each year. Keeping workers happy and healthy can help your company cut down on turnover rates, which saves you money in the long run.
At the same time, companies that invest more resources into providing a safe working environment can lower their operating costs without sacrificing worker health or productivity.
All companies want to keep costs low while maintaining high-quality work output from employees. Air quality monitoring in the office can help you achieve these goals by keeping your employees healthy, productive, and satisfied with their working conditions.
Monitoring your indoor air and understanding its composition will help you to improve the overall wellbeing of your building to ensure a safe, healthy and productive environment for staff, visitors and customers.
BlockDox helps you analyse, monitor, gain insight into and improve your indoor air to reduce the risk of airborne infections and to successfully restore productivity.