Enhancing Productivity By Improving the Air Quality in Your Work Place
Within urban areas in particular, pollution of all varieties continues to be a tremendous problem for our health. The air in particular around us takes tremendous punishment primarily from vehicle emissions, to the point where vehicle manufactures are being taken to task by various Government’s for quite literally fuelling such an issue. For those that are working in such towns and cities, they are therefore being exposed day after day, week after week to pollutants that over time can really do them damage.
All too often, though, companies concentrate only on those external factors that affect the general wellbeing of their staff, rather than looking at how to improve employee health in the long term. However, since we spend such a huge amount of time at work, it’s inevitable that our health is impacted by our workplace.Why is it such a big issue?
We might not be able to see them, but bacteria, germs and particles of polluting chemicals surround us at home, in the workplace, and even in schools. With over 1000 deaths per year in the UK attributable to poor air quality, it’s clear that good ventilation systems are vital, especially since air quality and associated moulds can have an effect on a whole range of medical conditions.
Aside from that headline figure, companies should also consider the number of working days lost to more minor illnesses that can be attributed to air quality in the workplace. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in 2016, a staggering 137.3 million days working were lost in the UK, so any steps to improve the workplace environment, and thereby to lower the number of sick days taken, must surely be a good thing.
It’s easy to assume a particular workplace or office is not affected by poor air quality, as the sources of pollution may not be immediately obvious. In fact, these hidden pollutants can combine to form a potentially dangerous threat to employee health. As an example, an office located close to a busy road or in a built-up urban environment may be letting in pollution from vehicle emissions, simply by opening the windows. Other seemingly innocent things can also contribute to poor air quality and harmful pollutants, including paint, cleaning products, carpets, printers and even some kind of printer paper.
What can be done?
Reducing the number of sick days taken each year isn’t the only benefit that cleaner air can bring, as it can also help to make staff happier whilst they are at work. In a recent study, it was found that over 60% of respondents felt that workplace happiness was more important than salary levels, which demonstrates that putting in the effort to improve the workplace is something that could have real value to a business and its employees.
Fortunately, there are some simple and cost-effective ways to improve the air quality in your office or workplace. Ensuring that the building is cleaned professionally and on a regular basis can go a long way, as it removes the opportunity for bacteria and germs to build up to dangerous levels. A quick sweep of a work surface for example may look clean from an aesthetic perspective, but requires dedicated maintenance to ensure that no potential causes for concern are lurking right where employees gather and work.
Plants are another easy way to improve air quality, as they are widely-known to help reduce the level of pollution in a room. They also have the added benefit of being pleasant to look at and appreciated by staff. Bringing nature to you also helps due to the fact that they take in carbon dioxide whilst giving out oxygen-a more than handy exchange!
It’s also well worth mentioning that the majority of countries have various employment laws detailing the bare minimum employers must do to ensure suitable surroundings for their workforce. Whilst the specifics will vary from place to place, some mention of good ventilation tends to be a constant inclusion. Should your business be found to be in breach of this legislation and a member of your staff be taken ill, there is a slim but possible chance you could be held legally responsible if it can be proved that their condition is linked to a poor quality working environment.
Whilst it might not seem like the most immediate aspect of a business for decision makers to invest in, being inactive in the face of such a problem will incur far more expenses both financially and health-wise in the long run. Carbon monoxide in particular is already an unseen menace that every firm knows to be aware of, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Clean air that is suitable for extended human consumption cannot be put aside, and is integral for financial success at any level.