Poor air quality in the office can easily go unnoticed, yet, it is one of the most underrated health concerns your business could be facing.

Poor IAQ (indoor air quality) may be having a severe impact on your workplace. Often linked to headaches, congestion, nasal and throat irritation, it may even affect office productivity and increased employee absences. 

Studies have shown that spending just $50 a year, per employee, on indoor air quality saw an approx. $8,400 increase in employee productivity. Improving air quality is evidently an important factor for any organisation looking to better employee performance and wellbeing.

Most of us will spend about half our life at work or in an office environment. For that reason, it is crucial to observe proper ventilation and air quality. 

Here’s 7 ways you can improve your office air quality:

What causes poor IAQ (indoor air quality)?

Indoor air quality refers to air quality inside of a building and how it relates to the health and comfort of occupants. Poor indoor air quality can be hard to detect as it hides behind the cool air from the AC and calming air fresheners. Because we don’t see it, we often dismiss its risks.

Indoor pollution is the primary cause of air problems; poor ventilation increases pollutants as it prevents outside air flow There are hundreds of air pollutants common to office environments. The most common (and harmful) are tobacco smoke, dust, mould and mildew and chemical pollutants.

How to improve your office air quality

1 - Increase ventilation levels

For natural ventilation don’t go past something as simple as opening a window. For greater ventilation control and increased airflow, use fans and your HVAC unit. Be aware, a lot of older units in commercial buildings do not operate an outside air system. Consider a system upgrade to ensure fresh air is filtering throughout your office space.

A Harvard study found that employees working in an environment with improved air quality and ventilation performed 61% better on cognitive tasks than those working in standard conditions.

2 - Keep tidy and clean

An easy fix is to keep your office clean and tidy. Regularly vacuum, sanitise and dust to reduce pollutants. Clear away clutter for easy cleaning and dispose of garbage as it accumulates. Consider using a professional cleaning service for regular and thorough cleans. A clean environment is a crucial component of indoor air quality to reduce the number of air pollutants.

3 - Check your vents

Ensure your air vents are open and unblocked with no furniture in the path of air flow. Any blockage will prevent your office air from circulating properly causing your workplace to feel stuffy. Call-in experts to inspect and clean your air vents if you believe they are impacting air circulation.

4 - Introduce plants

Indoor plants are a great addition to your workplace, not only do they improve employee wellbeing and look great but they also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

Office plants

5 - Use eco-cleaning products

Consider using eco-friendly cleaning products to avoid releasing harsh chemicals and pollutants into your office environment. With so many consumer options available, it’s easier than ever to find green cleaning products.

6 - Establish a HVAC routine

The air you inhale at work is filtered through a HVAC system, bringing outside air, inside. One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your air quality is to change and clean your HVAC filters regularly. 

If your HVAC system isn’t serviced regularly, unwanted contaminants can stay and recirculate inside your office. Further, if your HVAC is really neglected this may result in moisture problems. Moisture can lead to the build up of mould, mildew, bacteria and viruses, putting your employees’ health at risk.

Clogged filters can greatly interrupt airflow and speed up pollutant build-up within an enclosed space. Smoother HVAC operations will not only improve ventilation and air quality but also cut energy costs incurred by poor maintenance and air flow. In a standard office space, MAINair recommends checking or cleaning your filters monthly and replacing them annually; systems located in restaurants, hotels or other high traffic sites may require additional cleaning and maintenance. Establish a routine with reminders in your calendar to ensure you and your employees are breathing the best air.

How the MAINair team can help

If you have some concerns about the air quality of your office we recommend a visit from one of our qualified technicians to evaluate your HVAC systems and provide solutions. Should it be required, we could also engage with specialists to test the quality of your air and provide you a custom solution.

In your office, our service technicians will ensure that your HVAC filters are cleaned regularly and thoroughly, along with condensate trays, drains, indoor fans and coils. When cleaned regularly the opportunity for poor air quality is greatly reduced so you have cleaner air and greater employee comfort.

If this is an occurring concern for you we recommend reviewing your system and potentially updating your HVAC system to include an outside air system. This is now a requirement with most new installations, however, a lot of older units in commercial buildings are not currently operating this system and thus don’t have the benefit of filtered outside air entering the building.

For a cleaner, healthier and more energised work environment, consider your air quality and request a consult and system review from MAINair.

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