Another study carried out by Harvard University,(2) found that employees in offices with “green conditions”, where ventilation was improved, and levels of carbon dioxide and emissions were reduced, performed 61% better on cognitive test compared to employees in typical office building conditions.
In a separate study of ten ‘Green Certified’ Buildings (3) they found that not only did employees of these building perform better on cognitive test, but they reported 30% fewer respiratory issues and headaches compared to the occupant other office buildings.
Indoor air quality in workplaces may seem like an insignificant concern, but the numbers speak for themselves. By taking positive steps to improving the air quality of the workplace, businesses show that they are taking responsibility for their employee’s wellbeing, at the same time as increasing the profits for their business.
HERE ARE 6 WAYS THAT YOU CAN INCREASE THE AIR QUALITY IN YOUR WORKPLACE:
1. Have adequate ventilation
There are various ways to improve ventilation in your workplace. There is natural ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. Natural ventilation involves the movement of air by pressure differences between one part of a building and another, or pressure differences between the inside of the building and the outside. The way a building is designed can either help or hinder this process.
Opening windows and skylights work, but if the air quality outside is poor due to being on a busy road or in an industrial area, mechanical ventilation might be a better option. Mechanical ventilation like HVAC systems, filter outdoor air and circulate it throughout the building. If using a mechanical system, make sure that fans, ducts and vents are regularly cleaned.
2. Get regular cleaning form a company that specializes in non-toxic cleaning.
Off gassing from toxic cleaning chemicals can have serious detrimental effects on the air quality of buildings. Studies have linked exposure to chemicals from cleaning supplies to occupational asthma and other respiratory illnesses.(4,5) Regular cleaning of surfaces and floors helps remove dust and pathogen before they become airborne.
3. Get office plants
As well as looking nice, plants can filter the air and exchange carbon dioxide build up for oxygen. Out of all the indoor plants studied by NASA, (6)they discovered that Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) is best and most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene. All these chemical can be off gassed by toxic cleaning chemicals.
4. Regulate the humidity of the building.
High humidity in a building can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria. Airborne mould can cause a number of health issues including eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, lung infections, asthma and allergic reactions. The Government of Canada’s website (7) recommends to “Keep humidity low, about 50% in summer and 30% in colder weather. If needed, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity levels. You can use a hygrometer (an inexpensive tool available at most hardware stores) to measure humidity.”
5. Make sure your cleaning company is using vacuums with HEPA filtration.
HEPA stand for ‘High Efficiency Particulate Air. Unlike vacuums with ordinary filter, vacuums with HEPA filters are able to stop extremely small particles from recirculate back into the air. This mean that unlike ordinary filters, HEPA filter as are able to stop mould spores as well as some bacteria and viruses. This would have an obvious impact on the air quality of a building and therefore the health of the occupants, especially for those with asthma, allergies and respiratory issues
As we cannot see the air we breathe, it is often hard to imagine the effect it might be having on our health, but the studies speak for themselves. Taking steps to improve the air quality of your workplace can lead to happier, healthier more productive employees who take fewer sick days. This consequently leads healthier profits for your business.
Contact us for more information about non-toxic cleaning in Victoria BC
4. Nazaroff WW, Weschler CJ. Cleaning Products and Air Fresheners: Exposure to Primary and
Secondary Air Pollutants. Atmospheric Environment. 38, 2004: 2841-65.
5. California Air Resources Board (CARB). Report to the California Legislature: Indoor Air Pollution
in California. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency. 2005.