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How Air Quality Affects Productivity At The Office

Posted in Air Quality, on May 04, 2015

Could your frequent absenteeism be the result of poor air quality at the workplace?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is crucial to a healthy office setting. IAQ in the work environment is the subject of considerable attention because poor quality of air affects workers, causing various symptoms including allergic reactions, physical and mental fatigue, headaches, eye and throat irritation. Conversely, good air quality improves the health of the workforce and an organization's bottom line. While the consequences and causes of poor IAQ are intricate, here's an overview of how air quality affects work productivity.

Sources of Poor Air Quality at the Workplace

Numerous variables contribute to indoor pollution at the office. These factors include:

  • Building Location or Site

A building's location can have implications for pollutants. For instance, highways may be sources of particulates among other pollutants in nearby buildings. Buildings sited on areas where there was previous industrial use or where there's an elevated water table could lead to water leaching or chemical pollutants.

  • Renovation Activities

During painting and other renovation-related activities, dust and other by-products of the construction materials are pollutant sources that may circulate through a building.

  • Insufficient Ventilation

The quantity of fresh air and the cleanliness are vital factors in establishing air quality. An effective, well-maintained ventilation system will circulate and replace fresh for used air. Although these systems aren't designed to eliminate huge quantities of air contaminants, the system may decrease the degree of air pollution sufficiently.

  • Furnishings

Furniture or cabinetry made of particular pressed-wood products may emit air pollutants.

  • Systems Maintenance and Design

When the HVAC system isn't functioning properly for whatever reason, the building's frequently under negative pressure. In such instances, infiltration of external pollutants such as humid air and particulates may occur. In addition, when a company renovates or redesigns spaces, the HVAC system would need to revision to accommodate the changes. A poorly maintained or designed system could cause IAQ problems.

How to Decrease the Levels of Indoor Pollutants

  1. Source Management comprises removal, enclosures, and substitution of sources. This is the most efficient control technique when applied practically.
  2. Engineering Controls
  3. Local exhaust, for instance a canopy hood, is extremely efficient in eliminating point sources of pollutants before dispersion into a building's indoor air.
  4. Air cleaning mainly entails the elimination of air particles as air travels through HVAC equipment.

The Effects of Optimizing Air Quality in the Office

  • Healthful Indoor Setting

Generally, the better people feel physically, the more motivated and happier they will be. Walking into an office that smells musty and old or one that triggers allergic reactions isn't going to develop a positive attitude among workers. However, the adoption of a tactical plan can enhance employee outlook and a sense of well being considerably.

  • Decreased Incidences of Health Issues

Numerous allergy triggers such as mold and dust can decrease dramatically with the use of premium air filters. When incorporated into HVAC, air filters capture pollen, dust, and huge mold spores that penetrate the air handler, preventing re-entry into the workspace. This can decrease the severity of allergy symptoms experienced by employees.

Effects of Poor Air Quality at the Workplace

  • Absenteeism

Poor IAQ is not only a nuisance but also costly to businesses. Part of the costs arises from absenteeism and medical care. Poor air quality can potentially result in health problems including respiratory issues, headaches, sinus infections, and even lung problems. In turn, these problems affect workers' attendance at the office. Consequently, employees apply for sick leave frequently.  

  • Low Productivity

This occurs when people go to work despite being sick, resulting in productivity loss. This problem affects the quality and quantity of work among sick employees. Companies constantly have to deal with air quality issues. While it's impossible to satisfy every employee, it's possible and necessary to offer a work setting that's safe and healthy. If you suspect your home or office is facing air quality issues, please contact us so we can help (416) 414-5690

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