Nowadays, how to improve indoor air quality in offices is a major concern for bosses and factory owners. As we listened, “Time is money” is really valuable to maintain production costs. Poor air quality at works produces unhealthy activities like clutter, fatigue, and depression.
Once there was a time when factory workers work about 14 to 16 hours a day. At that time, efficiency does not matter; only time is the sign of productivity. But as we grow, we learned extra factors of productivity; we learn how to get maximum work in minimum time; we also learned how to reduce work loss and boost productivity.
In the U.S., normally 40 working hours are allowed in a week, Monday to Friday 09 – 05 with half an hour for lunch. All these schedules are set to provide a flexible and stress-free environment in offices. It’s a good practice, but another major factor plays a key role in the office environment: indoor air quality; let’s explore it more.
How Poor Indoor Air Quality Increase Work Loss?
Due to poor indoor air quality, office employees can face health effects like fatigue, nausea, and illness. If patients with asthma and allergies work in poor indoor air quality, their symptoms may become worse. Due to poor indoor air quality, employees also complain of runny nose, eye, and throat irritation.
Indoor pollutants are quietly different from outdoor some of them are colorless, odorless, and cannot be seen with the naked eyes like Co2, Radon, and ground-level ozone. Studies show that a healthy environment increases productivity, but when we cannot maintain a healthy workplace, employees cannot deliver their 100%. They cannot be focused; less interest affects their productivity.
Clean air is a composition of 10 different gasses; oxygen is one of them and has 20 – 21 % concentration in the air. But when air entered a close workspace or office, its composition may change due to inadequate ventilation and become polluted air. According to the Lancet studies, up to 800,000 peoples die every year due to contaminated air in their workplace.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
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Sources of Poor Air Quality at Work
Particulate matter’s (PM)
Fine particles of dirt, dust, and other microbes from 2.5µ to 10µ exist in office areas. These pollutants also entered the office through employees. These particles settled down on the carpets, corners, and crake and breed dust mites, bacteria, and viruses.
Air fresheners/ perfume
Fragrances give our mood a pleasant touch, but mostly air fresheners and perfumes contain volatile organic compounds; when these compounds are combined with nitrogen oxide and some other gasses, they produce harmful types of pollutants.
Secondhand or third-hand smoke
Secondhand or third-hand smoke is one of the major causes of indoor air pollution. Most workplaces are equipped with a no-smoking zone, but third-hand smoke can be entered through our clothes and other items because third-hand smoke contains nicotine and other chemicals lying down on clothes and hard surfaces.
Most office buildings have fewer open vents to minimize outdoor pollutants’ entrance like dust and pollen into the building. When many people work in a small space or poorly ventilated area, oxygen consumed rapidly. The concentration of oxygen decreases in the air and causes poor air quality at work. At the same time, poor air quality at work becomes a cause of work loss.
Mostly cleaning products contains toxic chemical like VOC’s when these volatile organic compounds combined with other gasses they produce ground-level ozone and other harmful oxidants.
Office use products like printers, photocopier machines, scanners, and fax machines produce EMF and ground-level Ozone. Ozone is highly reactive and has 06 minutes of half-life in the Office environment. During printing, mostly printers emit ultrafine particles of toner; these fine particles entered our lungs and bloodstream through respiration and became a cause of serious health issues.
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11 Amazing Suggestions on How to Improve the Work Environment in the Office
1- Utilize ventilation system mechanically
A mechanical ventilation system circulates the fresh air through fans or ducts and maintains indoor air quality. You should use a mechanical ventilation system, either wind-driven ventilation or pressure-driven flows.
2- No smoking zone
Smoking inside the office building is strictly prohibited is very helpful to improve the work environment. Cigarette or cigar smoke contains up to 7000 harmful substances, and these substances do not disperse easily.
3- Friendly environment
A motivational and friendly environment in the office is the key to improve the work environment. Studies show that strict policies in the office or workplace can because stress and hypertension and become a major cause of work loss.
4- Out of clutter, adopt simplicity
Clutter in the office reduces productivity and growth. Let’s declutter your office desk, your cubicle, and adopt the policy of simplicity.
5- Use some indoor plants
Indoor plants in the office maintain the concentration of oxygen in the air, and you feel energetic. Plants boost productivity levels up to 15%, and these little green friends decrease stress and provide a soothing effect on our brain.
6- Replace air filters regularly
Different HAVC systems, air cleaning products are used to reduce indoor air pollution; regularly inspect these filters and replaced them when they are chocked.
7- Maintain the level of humidity
An ideal humidity level in indoor areas is 40 – 60%. A humidity level below 40% makes air dry, which can be a cause of eyes, skin, and respiratory problems. In contrast, a level above 60% makes the air condensed and stale and provides an ideal space for airborne bacteria breeding.
8- Proper food storage and trash dumping
There should be a separate space for lunch in the office to maintain a healthy environment and a covered trash bin for garbage disposal.
9- Use detectors to test air quality
The concentration of Ozone, Radon, and Co2, and some other harmful gasses are difficult to feel because they are colorless and odorless. Exposure to these chronic gasses badly affects the work environment. To minimize the exposure of these gasses, always use detectors in the office building.
10- Use of air curtains
Air curtains at the entrance and exit doors prevent insects, dust, and other outdoor pollutants from entering the office building. Air curtains work like a pre-filter and helpful to improve indoor air quality in the office.
11- Use an Air Purifier
When we explore ways to improve indoor air quality, the air purifiers for office use are most beneficial to maintain a healthy environment in offices and workplaces. Air purifiers can clean air up to 99.97% and capture the micropollutants up to 0.3 µ.
Better indoor air quality in the office is not only beneficial for owners but also good for employees. Till the end of duty, workers feel energetic and less tired to have a good time with their family.
On the other side, when we adopt ways to improve air quality and stop the breeding of indoor pollutants, it positively impacts the outdoor environment. This practice helps obtain the goal of Green New Deal-2019 (The Environment Policy of the United States), and we can also protect the environment for our upcoming generation.