We spend around 90% of our lives indoors, often working for up to eight hours a day in poorly ventilated offices, occasionally alongside ill colleagues. We frequently take preventative measures to stop ourselves becoming unwell ourselves – like washing hands and using alcohol gels. Yet we rarely take into account how the air we breathe could be making us ill. FMs must prioritise improving indoor air quality (IAQ) to combat issues caused by polluted indoor air.
Studies have shown that reduced IAQ can lead to things like headaches, lethargy, sore throats and eye/skin irritation. And from an employer’s perspective, reduced productivity levels due to restricted mental ability. For example, according to a study by the Harvard report, employees who work in places with poor IAQ don’t think as clearly, learn slower and remember things less than those who work in buildings with better IAQ.
The aforementioned study tested 24 subjects on various mental tasks – from decision making to crisis management and information seeking. It found that those working in buildings with low levels of indoor pollution scored, on average, 61% higher than those working in places with higher amounts of indoor air pollution (contaminants and allergens).
Additionally, reduced IAQ can also affect an individual’s health, sometimes causing flu-like symptoms such as headaches, skin/eye irritation and rashes, which the NHS describes as ‘sick building syndrome (SBS)’. Poor ventilation and air pollutants (dust, smoke and fibres in the air) are listed as possible causes of SBS. The worry is, these symptoms could lead to absenteeism, which is thought to cost UK employers an estimated £32 billion a year in lost productivity.
Astley Shields, UK Head of Air Treatment at Fellowes, said: “Most of us spend the majority of our working lives indoors, yet rarely think about the air we breathe when we are in the office. Despite the fact that, indoor air can be more detrimental to our health than the air outdoors. It can also lead to lethargy and poor concentration, affecting productivity, which is bad for business.”
He continued: “It’s up to FMs and the people in power to take the steps to improve indoor air quality, in order to promote wellbeing and boost productivity. Introducing air purifiers like the Fellowes AeraMax Professional, proven to cut out 99.9% of airborne contaminants, is one way of doing that.”
He added: “Air purifiers, like the aforementioned, not only prevent the spread of germs and filter air but also help to eliminate odour, pollens – creating a safer, more productive environment for all. With air pollution hot on the news agenda, now is the perfect time for FM to assess the quality of air in their facilities.”
Whilst most FM’s are already taking steps to prevent the spreading of viruses and infections by indirect contact, surface cleaning is the only surface deep and promoting hand hygiene only goes so far. With products like the Fellowes AeraMax Professional air purifiers, FM’s can take their facilities to the next level of clean.
With summer around the corner, now is the perfect time for FMs to take action and improve IAQ to stay ahead of the curb. Acquiring new technology, like air purifiers, will create a safer, healthier environment for workers and is likely to improve overall productivity.
Find out more at: www.aeramaxpro.com/uk/