Learn why indoor office air quality matters, and how to ensure the best possible air quality for your workplace.
As restrictions are eased across the globe and millions of people prepare to make the transition back to the office after months of working from home, awareness of indoor air quality at work has become more pertinent than ever before, and as the Delta variant spreads, ensuring that office air is safe to breathe is more important than ever.
If you’re an office or facilities manager, or an employee concerned about office air quality, you should know that there are steps you can take to improve building indoor air quality and ensure a safe environment for everyone in the workplace.
The office: a potential COVID hotspot
With indoor transmission far more common than outdoor, many have serious concerns around COVID infections in offices. The longer people sit together in enclosed spaces, the higher the chances for a virus outbreak. The threat is especially potent when it comes to open space offices with many employees.
A recent study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases tracked the spread of the virus throughout a call center in South Korea. With nearly all employees on one floor contracting the disease from just one worker who’d tested positive, the researchers concluded that COVID “can be exceptionally contagious in crowded office settings…The magnitude of the outbreak illustrates how a high-density work environment can become a high-risk site for the spread of Covid-19 and potentially a source of further transmission.”
Common sources of poor office air quality
Beyond the virus, there are other airborne contaminants that reduce office building indoor air quality. According to the EPA, there are a number of sources linked to worse air quality in office buildings, including:
- Biological contaminants from dirty ventilation systems or water-damaged walls, ceilings and carpets
- Cleaning materials and restroom air fresheners
- Asbestos from insulation and fire-proof building materials
- Formaldehyde from pressed wood products
- Pesticides from pest management efforts
While these particular pollutants may not cause COVID, they can still have an adverse effect on employee health and overall wellness.
Clean air in the workplace: Why it matters
Indoor air quality at work is linked to employee performance, stamina, and even motivation. Extensive research has proven that polluted indoor air can have a negative impact on work quality. “The effect [of poor air quality] on most aspects of office work performance appears to be as high as 6-9%,” researchers from the International Center for Indoor Environment and Energy concluded.
An EPA report clearly links poor quality office air to more employee sick days, and a marked plunge in employee efficacy. Conversely, a joint study from researchers at Harvard and Syracuse University found that employees enjoying optimal office air quality performed a staggering 61 percent better on cognitive tasks than those in office environments with typical amounts of carbon dioxide and other common air pollutants.
In order to create the best environment for employees to thrive and efficiently perform their tasks, good office indoor air quality is a must.
Indoor air quality testing for office buildings
Testing the air in your office is a critical first step for determining pollution levels, and detecting if there are harmful substances present.
You can test in a number of ways. For an initial look into your office’s current air quality, you can use a small hand-held device like a carbon dioxide (CO2) detector. If you’re interested in a deeper dive that can reveal all of the substances floating around in your workplace air, you can hire an air testing professional.
If you discover that you need to improve indoor air quality in the office, you probably don’t have time to devote to dealing with reconfiguring your office set-up to make space for a bulky purifier. And it’s highly unlikely that you’re thrilled at the prospect of costly, hands-on maintenance.
The good news is that there’s a highly effective, zero maintenance air cleaning solution that won’t clutter up your workspace and can be easily installed into your office’s existing HVAC system.
Tadiran’s Air Care O2 is a plug-and-play air purifier solution that utilizes water molecules already present in the air, converting them into cleansing hydrogen peroxide which actively neutralizes airborne pollutants. In FDA-cleared lab tests, the Air Care 02 was proven to eliminate viruses, bacteria and mold by up to 99.999%.
But beyond tests in a controlled lab setting, Air Care O2 has proven itself as a powerful pathogen-zapping solution for crowded, large spaces. In a first-of-its-kind live experiment, the device was tested in a cinema full of moviegoers, and majorly cut down on the presence of mold, bacteria, and viruses in real time.
If you’d like to learn more about the most powerful air purification systems to ensure that the air in your office is as clean as possible, get in touch with us! We’d love to guide you in your search and help you find the best solution to improve air quality in the office.