Are employees complaining about the air quality in your office?
Are your team members getting runny nose while working? Are you starting to hear frequent sneezes around the office?
Take prompt actions if you noticed the scenarios above happening in your office.
- 1 Benefits of Good Indoor Air Quality
- 2 Place Indoor Plants in the Office
- 3 Remove Sources of Harmful Particles
- 4 Provide Employees with Air Purifiers
- 5 Regular Air Conditioning or HVAC System Maintenance
- 6 Improve the Air Quality in Your Office Today
Benefits of Good Indoor Air Quality
Skeptical about spending money on improving indoor air quality? Yes, you may not see immediate returns, but a better office air quality brings in the following benefits:
- Reduced bacteria, virus, and germ levels in the air.
- Increased comfort in the office.
- Lesser occassions of employees reporting in sick.
- Higher morale and productivity.
- Lower employee turnover.
When the air at your workplace is clean and fresh, it becomes a comfortable environment where your employees can concentrate on work and push their productivity to the maximum.
Eager to build that great environment for your deserving employees? We have 5 tips for you. Continue reading.
Place Indoor Plants in the Office
Among the tips we have, this will probably cost you the least.
Benefits of Indoor Plants
Plants are natural air filters. The NASA Clean Air Study carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) confirmed this.
The report suggested that certain indoor plants help to remove the following toxic agents:
- and many more.
The toxic agents above are one of the primary causes of illness for occupants within a building.
Aside from removing toxic agents, our eyes find great relief looking at greeneries after long hours of focus and strain. Plants also have the ability to lower stress levels in the office. According to this article written by Travis Riddle for Scientific American, houseplants can even make you smarter.
All in all, plants offer a lot of awesome benefits. In fact, there are so many benefits that we decided to include them on our list of employee Christmas gift ideas.
How to Pick the Right Indoor Plants?
Here comes the big question. What type of plants should you buy for your office?
As a rule of thumb, the easier it is to maintain the plant, the more suitable it is for the office environment.
Research and try to answer the questions below if you do not have someone whose roles include taking care of plants.
- How much sunlight do the plants need?
- How often should you water and fertilize them?
- Are they prone to pest infestation?
- Do they outgrow their pot in a short period of time?
If your staffs are clueless about maintaining plants, 9 Air-Cleaning Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill by Maria Janowiak is a good reference.
Remove Sources of Harmful Particles
A straightforward way to freshen up your office is by removing the sources of harmful air particles.
Take a look around your office. Are you able to identify what is causing a drop in air quality? Take the effort of removing it and make sure it does not return.
No Smoking in the Office
A good example of such source is second-hand smoke.
There are more than a billion smokers worldwide according to the World Health Organization so it is inevitable to have employees who smoke.
Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
A “no smoking” policy helps to reduce direct medical expenses related to smoking-induced illnesses. Your office will have a lower risk of fires too.
If you are going to implement a smoking ban, it is important to have a clear policy for it and make sure your team fully understands the policy. A confusing or incomplete policy may lead to unhappiness and conflicts among team members.
In the policy, you must also highlight the extent of the ban. Some companies turn their entire premise into a smoke-free zone while some even extend the ban to company vehicles.
When the policy is in place, put up “No Smoking” signs around the office premise. They will serve as a reminder for both employees and visitors.
Smokers on your team will appreciate a designated smoking area when you have a smoking ban. The area needs to be of a certain distance away from the space where other employees spend most of their time.
Also, it needs to have proper containers for smokers to extinguish their cigarette butts. Encourage employees who are using the facility to keep it clean and tidy. You may need to hire a cleaning company to remove cigarette butts and apply air fresheners to the smoking area.
When the office is a no-smoking zone, employees who need to smoke will have to leave their workstation temporarily. This is often referred to as taking a smoking break or a cigarette break.
This results in downtime and it may even affect the productivity of other workers if the completion of tasks is dependent on each other’s work.
Make sure your no-smoking policy covers smoking breaks. Put a limit on the number and the duration. Let the employees know that it is good for their own health to smoke lesser too.
If you need help drafting and executing a no-smoking policy, you can refer to Tobacco Use in the Workplace: A Model Policy by the American Cancer Society.
Prevent Unfiltered Air from Entering the Office
Air pollutants often come from outdoors. The situation is worse if your office is located at an industrial area or in a city with severe air pollution.
Seal any openings or have air filters installed to prevent unfiltered air from entering the office. At the same time, make sure the ventilation in the office is sufficient. Employees should not feel stuffy or have breathing difficulties as a result of this.
After the above, consider installing a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. If you have a smaller office, you can install multiple air conditioning units.
Provide Employees with Air Purifiers
Buying an air purifier for employees who are feeling uneasy with the air quality in your office is another good solution. For most, a tower purifier or a tabletop purifier is enough to do the job.
The best air purifiers come with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or an HEPA type filter.
An HEPA filter is more effective at filtering out bad air particles. The latter is not an HEPA filter, but it comes with the filtration effect that you would expect of an HEPA filter. It may not be as effective, but it costs much lesser.
Opt for quiet air purifiers. You don’t want to improve on air quality on one hand but create noise pollution on the other. No air purifiers will tell consumers that they are noisy. You can only find out by either reading online reviews left by actual customers or by testing them at physical stores.
Regular Air Conditioning or HVAC System Maintenance
The air conditioning system in your office will gather dust and debris over time. This is another possible cause for a drop in indoor air quality.
Give your air conditioning or HVAC servicing providers a call. Ask them whether your air conditioning or HVAC system is due for maintenance work. They should be able to answer the question. At the same time, they need to let you know how often should you service the system.
Most of the time, the service intervals depend on the number of people occupying the office and the type of activities carried out.
HVAC servicing providers will check your air filters and blower components. They will then decide on whether to clean or have them changed. Hiring the right HVAC service providers can be a pain, especially if you have no prior experience dealing with them.
Work with the company which doesn’t mind to explain things in detail and in plain English. If they are good enough, they will let you know some of the work they did. The really good ones will be able to explain why they are able to charge a higher or a lower fee than their competition.
If you need further guidance on how to pick the right HVAC service, you can refer to this Angie’s List guide.
Aside from just levelling up on air quality, a regular maintenance schedule will make the air conditioning system in your office more efficient. In the long run, you will be saving on energy costs.
Improve the Air Quality in Your Office Today
When indoor air quality goes up, your office becomes a more conducive workplace for employees. You can expect to see an increase in productive and happiness. Best of all, they are going to be healthier and be less susceptible to respiratory-related sickness.
To recap, here are the things you can consider doing to improve the indoor air quality at your work premise:
- Increase the number of indoor plants.
- Enforce a smoking ban.
- Remove sources of harmful air particles.
- Prevent unfiltered air from entering the office.
- Provide employees with small air purifiers.
- Service the air conditioning system on a regular basis.
Let us know if you have a tip that we can add to the list. You might be able to help another business owner out so feel free to share it in the comment section below.
Have any questions on any of the steps above? Please leave a comment below so we can help you out.