If you spend most of your time in the office, you should be mindful of the office air quality. Most office occupants hardly notice when the IAQ is good, but they can tell when the air is not good.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) describes how the air inside a facility or a building affects an individual’s comfort, health, and ability to work. It is the main concern to employees, rental managers, and businesses because it can greatly affect the health and productivity of employees.
Other than reducing the level of productivity and feeling uncomfortable, poor quality air causes various health issues, including:
- Throat, eye, and nose irritation
- Trouble breathing
- Physical fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Colds, among others.
When people feel sick after breathing the poor quality air, most mistake these issues for stress or other health issues. However, there is uniqueness in the health issues caused by poor air quality because the symptoms will go away once you leave the office. The worse thing about air pollution is that the aforementioned health issues can rapidly turn into air poisoning cases and lead to severe health issues like asthma.
Causes of poor air quality in an office
There are several causes of poor air quality in an office. Here are some of them.
These are major air pollutants contaminants that come from vapors and gas. Combustion bi-products like the components that burn alongside tobacco whenever you smoke fall under this category. Other contaminants include strong perfume and accidental cleaning supplies spills. Toxic chemicals like mercury and lead are also classified under this category.
These kinds of contaminants are usually caused by living microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The other contaminants that fall under this category come from plants and pets, and they include dander, pollen, and animal dander. Mold and mildew also fall under biological contaminants. Moisture occurs after condensations forms around the window if the indoor air is heated and the temperature outside is low. A high level of moisture in your office is a good thriving environment for mildew and mold.
Particle contaminants are the small particles present in the air. They include concrete dust, asbestos, and wood shavings, among others.
25 Tips to Keep your Office Air Quality Safe
Keeping your office air quality safe is not only important but beneficial in many ways. Note that health issues can lead to a high level of absenteeism and hence reduced productivity. Here are 25 tips on how to keep your office air quality safe.
- Improve air ventilation
Allowing the stale air outside your office and allowing fresh air is the first thing you need to do. It would help if you made a tendency of opening your windows now and then.
2. Discourage smoking within office grounds
You can forbid your employees from smoking within the office grounds. You can also put posters of ‘no smoking’ outside your office for visitors.
3. Discourage the use of strong perfume
Strong perfume can easily reduce the air quality in an office. You should discourage the use of strong perfumes and body lotion when people are coming to the office. You can do this by issuing the employees a memo discouraging them from applying these strong perfumes and telling them why.
4. Replace the air filters regularly
Changing the air filter frequently and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will help prevent reissued air in the office. A dirty filter can worsen the indoor air quality because it acts as a reservoir for dust, dirt, and other airborne contaminants. A clean filter will remove airborne particles from the air effectively.
5. Be careful when buying office furniture
Furniture made of pressed paint and wood can release a small number of chemicals into the air. This is a secret pollutant that can cause a lot of damage. Avoid buying furniture that is made of such materials.
6. Use air purifiers
Use air purifiers that have HEPA filters, which do a great job in filtering air contaminants. Examples of recommendable air purifiers include:
- Blue Pure 211 +
- Blue Pure 411
- Dyson Pure Hot Plus Cool
- Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
- Fridababy 3-in-1
7. If you have carpeting in your office, remove it or vacuum it regularly
8. Use milder or all-natural cleaning suppliers to clean your office
9. Enjoy high levels of cleanliness in your office. A clean office will have lower levels of dust, allergens, contaminants, and mold
10. Perform regular air tests
By carrying out indoor air testing, you will get the right insight and information to develop the right measures to make your office air quality safe
11. Ensure that nothing is blocking your office air vents
12. Clean up any spills either on the table or the floor immediately. Cleaning spills and damp places on the floor will significantly play a part in helping to discourage mildew and mold growth
13. Install radon detectors in your office. You should also take the necessary measures to reduce radon levels if the detector says it is high.
14. Enclose or seal asbestos to keep it from spreading
15. Have the ventilation ducts cleaned if there are signs of dust and mold?
16. Consider using air duct cleaning services. These are maintenance services that some HVAC companies offer, and they promise efficiency in the HVAC system and cleaner air.
17. Reduce mold and humidity using exhaust fans and dehumidifiers
18. Perform regular inspection and maintenance of HVAC, purifiers, and filters
19. Dilute and remove pollutants from a ventilated office and then use the filtration method to clean the indoor air from remaining pollutants
20. Change your HVAC system if the number of people working in your office rises.
21. You can educate the staff members on the importance of maintaining good office air quality.
22. Paint the office using eco-friendly paint
23. Maintain the appropriate level of humidity using dehumidifiers
24. Add plants in the office. They help increase the level of humidity and eliminate airborne diseases. Some of the plants you can add include:
- Spider plant
- Rubber plants
- Red ivy
25. Deal with weird smells immediately.
Some people underestimate office air quality and think it is not important to address poor indoor air quality immediately. However, maintaining good office air quality is important because it will increase productivity and avoid expensive treatments.