Increasing your employees productivity by 61% is simpler than you think. Aside from recent movements towards flexible working policies and office benefits, the solution is easy: good office air quality improves productivity. Your company’s workforce reacts not only to light or open work spaces, but also to the oxygen levels and air purity of their immediate environment.
Why does indoor air quality matter?
Pollutants aren’t restricted to the city streets: in buildings with insufficient air exchange, particles of dust, carbon monoxide, building materials and cleaning chemicals can all become trapped without anywhere to go. In older buildings, this list could even contain the likes of formaldehyde, phthalates, lead and asbestos. People in certain jobs in the US are likely to spend around 90% of their time indoors, meaning that office air quality can play a serious role in their health. In some countries like Hong Kong, indoor air pollution has already been recognized as a problem and many apartment buildings and office spaces are fitted with air purifiers.
What are the advantages of improving office air quality?
A recent study by Harvard and Syracuse universities simulated office environments with different levels of ventilation, carbon dioxide, and emissions from common office products. On its ‘green’ setting – where the test implemented the healthiest environment possible – employees were shown to perform 61% better on cognitive tasks than in the standard office conditions. A further study showed that employees in green-certified buildings had 30% fewer headaches and respiratory complaints and they performed nearly 27% better on cognitive tasks. Cleaner air has also been linked to improved sleep, which undoubtedly raises focus and alertness levels.
What steps can you take to improve air quality?
Your building system may already circulate air, but it may not adequately replace it with fresh outdoor air. Smaller buildings, especially in warmer climates, are easier to ventilate through opening windows and allowing a natural air flow. In colder areas or during the winter months, you’ll instead need to consider installing an automatic system that detects certain gases in the building and extracts them through ventilation systems. You can also set up a carbon dioxide and monoxide monitor and keep an eye on the humidity levels.
There are also smaller air quality tips that can help to improve your environment, little by little. Substantial doormats trap dust and prevent it from entering the office on employees’ shoes, while cleaning products with less chemicals are also advisable. Indoor plants may not remove enough pollutants from the air to make a difference, but they do increase oxygen levels, which can improve alertness and contribute to good mental health.
The best time to think about office air quality levels, is before you even choose a workplace. At this point, you can check the ratings of the building and see what materials have been used in their construction, and ask to see the monitors long before you decide to sign the lease. Don’t forget to talk to our expert estate agents about office air quality, when you’re hunting for the right office for you.