Most business owners and employees aren't concerned about air quality in the workplace. Most people are aware that polluted outdoor air exists, particularly in densely populated areas, but many are astonished to learn that polluted inside air exists. While indoor air pollution may appear to be inconsequential, it can severely impact workers' health, mood, and performance.
It's no wonder that office air quality is frequently bad. With so many people crammed into such a small space, dust, dirt, and other material can quickly accumulate - not to mention the extra impact of any adjacent office improvements or new building development. Sick Building Syndrome, which impacts employees whenever they are inside, can be caused by poor office air quality. If employees report headaches, respiratory issues, sneezing, or fevers while at work, it could indicate a problem with indoor air quality - mainly if the symptoms only appear at work and disappear by the time they get home.
Indoor air quality is influenced by a variety of elements and variables, including, but not limited to:
- Airborne contaminants
- Air movement
- Contaminants brought in such as cigarette smoke, fragrances, and even clothes washing detergent
Your workplace and its employees will breathe unhealthy air unless you take action to reduce airborne contaminants. Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, which may shock you. Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental threats to public health, according to studies. While indoor air pollution causes a variety of issues, the following are some of the most widespread:
- Upper respiratory irritation
- Allergy attacks
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Weakened immune system
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased risk of cancer
Options for Improving Air Quality
Filter installation and maintenance is a building's first line of protection against poor air quality and improving the indoor air quality system's health. There is minimum performance reporting value standards infiltration. These are known as "MERV ratings." They are an industry norm that gauges a filter's capacity to clean the air efficiently. A MERV rating is a straightforward way to determine how much particulate matter and pollutants the filter can capture.
Indoor air pollution is exacerbated by high humidity. Many individuals are unaware that air contains moisture particles. Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air concerning what it can have at its actual temperature, calculated as a percentage. If the humidity in your office is 50%, for instance, the air is half full of water. Maintaining a humidity level of 40 per cent to 50 per cent in your office will help keep the air clean. Mould and mildew thrive in environments with humidity levels of 60% or higher. You might find black mould on the walls and windows of your workplace. As mould grows on these areas, some spores will be discharged into the air, where employees will breathe them in. To regulate the humidity in your workplace, use the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system, and a dehumidifier.
Let Natural Air In
When the humidity and temperature conditions allow, open the doors and windows. The open-air, as well as natural sunlight and temperature, maintains the air moving and refreshed. As time and convenience allow, do it once a week or fortnightly. Natural ventilation can also help to enhance interior air quality by lowering contaminants. Natural ventilation can be found in the following places:
Opening and closing doors and windows
Closing the blinds, for example, is a form of a window shade.
Clean Spilled Liquids
Whether it's a drink, a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee, you should pick up spilt beverages as soon as possible. Leaving liquids to sit on your workplace floor, like high humidity, promotes mould and mildew. Encourage employees to wipe up spilt drinks by placing paper towel dispensers and waste bins throughout the workplace. Spilt liquids are unavoidable, but they won't pollute the air if they're cleaned up quickly.
Humidification, or the addition of water to the air, is also vital for indoor air quality. The ideal indoor humidity level is frequently linked to the outside temperature. Indoor air that isn't damp enough can show in various ways in cold weather, including air that never seems warm enough, dry hair and skin, static electricity, and even respiratory consequences.
Avoid Air Fresheners
Air fresheners may smell lovely, but they can pollute the air in your workplace with poisons and nasty chemicals. According to surveys, 19% of people have had health problems as a result of air fresheners. Air fresheners work by concealing scents with artificial aromas, which are frequently derived from chemicals. Several of the compounds used in scented candles are also found in air fresheners. When these compounds are burned, they produce new, harsher toxins. If your office smells terrible, try to maximize the airflow and eradicate the stink source instead of covering the stench with an air freshener or scented candle.
Get Indoor Plants
Because they can absorb contaminants from the air, many plants are renowned as nature's air cleaners. Remember that mould thrives in areas where plants are frequently watered, so keep an eye out for it and wipe it up as needed. Indoor plants like the Golden Pothos and Spider Plant are good at absorbing benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and xylene. They also look lovely and add to the livability of your home.
Vacuuming the floors is the first step in creating clean air in your business. Workers' shoes track dirt, pathogens, and trash into the office due to all the traffic. If left unmanaged, some of this trash will end up in the air, polluting it. You may avoid this by sweeping your office's flooring regularly. Vacuum your office every day to minimize airborne pollutants, whether you're doing it yourself or hire a professional cleaning service.
Restricting the formation of mould and dust mites by removing water from the air can enhance air quality. Dehumidification is most commonly associated with maintaining acceptable indoor temperatures. In IAQ, some dehumidification merely removes humidity rather than cooling, heating, or cleaning the air. An air conditioner in an HVAC system absorbs the heat from the house and exhausts stale air outdoors while also eliminating humidity.
An air purifier, which is not to be mistaken for a humidifier, is a device that eliminates toxins and impurities from indoor air. It takes in ambient air, filters out potentially dangerous contaminants, and then ejects the air back into the environment.
Regularly Clean and Sanitize HVAC Air Ducts
Cold and hot air are circulated in your office via your HVAC air ducts. Dust, mould, bacteria, debris, and even dead insects and rodents build up in air ducts over time. These toxins move through the air in your office, causing airborne diseases and spreading unpleasant odours.
Clean with Microfiber Cloths
Microfiber cloths are made out of small, thin fabric strands that trap more dust and dirt. Microfiber cloths are made of lab-created synthetic textiles like polyester or nylon. Using a microfiber cloth, cleaning your office's desks and other surfaces removes more contaminants than cleaning with a regular cloth. If your workplace has hardwood or laminate floors, you can invest in a microfiber mop. These mops have heads made of the same synthetic fibres as portable microfiber cloths, allowing them to clean more effectively.
Indoor air pollution is a health problem for many employees, but it can be avoided with proper planning. Following these guidelines will assist you in creating a clean, healthy work environment with much better air quality.