Working in a comfortable environment will enhance employee productivity. It is important to conduct a proper indoor air quality inspection of your office building. This is especially true if your employees are complaining of coughs and allergies, which could be a result of poor ventilation.
Unfortunately, most people tend to overlook the importance of indoor air quality. This could result in serious health complications for you and your employees.
In this article, I am going to outline 6 tips for office indoor air quality management. Also, I will talk about the three top factors affecting indoor air quality.
Factors that affect the office indoor air quality
While we may not realize, sometimes indoor air can be more harmful than outdoor air. The main source of indoor air pollution may include:
- Smoke from cigarettes
- Emissions from office equipment (Chemical pollutants)
Three main factors could contribute to poor indoor air quality. These include the following:
Air circulation equipment breakdown.
Most property managers forget to call in the maintenance team for equipment unless the occupants raise complaints. Talk to the property manager immediately if you suspect equipment breakdowns.
For instance, it could be that the air vents are blocked and the air conditioner is failing.
Poor sanitation and disposal of office waste.
One of the signs of poor office indoor air quality is unpleasant smells. Sometimes the air feels stuffy and makes it difficult to breathe. Well, you should probably have the office checked for leakage. Focus on the washrooms and kitchenette as these areas are prone to water spills and leaking pipes.
Also, ensure that office waste is disposed of as often as possible. Keeping office waste in bins of waste bags could lead to poor indoor air quality.
Improper furniture planning
It is a common mistake I have identified in office buildings. When placing furniture, you must be aware of the air vents. Do not place shelves, furniture, or boxes in the way of the air vents. This will limit air circulation in the room and hence poor air quality.
Other factors could lead to compromised air circulation in your office building. For instance, failure to control humidity and temperature could affect the quality of air in the office.
6 useful tips to improve the quality of office indoor air in an office setting
1) Check the air vents for blockage
Above, I have mentioned that blocked air vents could affect the quality of indoor air. Ensure that the air vents are left open. If you are concerned about the air filters, ask your building manager to have them checked and changed.
In most cases, property managers will have an outlined procedure for such complaints. Be sure to follow protocol and have your office checked to ensure the safety of your staff.
2) Encourage regular and thorough cleaning
I assume you already have a cleaning service provider keeping the office tidy. However, are they efficient enough? It is important to have your office cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
Encourage the cleaners to vacuum the carpets, shelves, tables and clean the washrooms and kitchenette.
I mentioned above that proper sanitation is key to good air quality. Water spills must be cleaned immediately. Wet grounds are breeding areas for molds and other allergens. Ensure proper disposal of office waste and have the cleaners vacuum the office regularly.
At the same time, ensure that the detergents and adhesives used in the office are not harmful. Sometimes, indoor air pollution can be as a result of the chemicals. Go for those products that do not emit toxins in the air.
3) Regular inspection of air vents and ducts
The blockage of air vents could explain the lack of proper air circulation in the office. Do not wait to have them repaired. If you are concerned about the office indoor air quality, you should call in professionals to inspect the air quality.
At the same time, I must insist on following the procedure. If you are required to speak to the property manager, please do so before you make any changes to the building.
If the ducts are dirty, they should be cleaned to ensure adequate airflow. Also, air filters should be checked and changed regularly. If your staff has been complaining about stuffy indoor air, you may call in professionals to test the air quality. From the test results, you can proceed and raise your complaints with the project manager.
4) Keep the windows open
To ensure maximum circulation of air in the office encourages the staff to keep the windows open. However, this is only encouraged when the weather is suitable. Perfect indoor air quality means having the correct levels of humidity and temperature.
When you do not have the option to open the windows and door, invest in a humidifier or air purifier.
Having a constant flow of fresh air will limit the toxins in the air. Make use of natural ventilation but keep temperature and humidity in mind.
5) Office indoor plants
Indoor plants are great for office décor, but they also improve indoor air quality by absorbing toxins from the air. Plants will take in most of the CO2 from the air while releasing oxygen.
However, I must warn you that some plants need watering more than others. A lot of water could promote the growth of mold which will affect the quality of indoor air. Go for indoor plants that do not require a lot of watering.
6) Ban smoking around the office area
Cigarette smoke is one of the most harmful pollutants you can have in your office. While some offices have a designated smoking zone, others may not have enough space. I insist on banning smoking in your office area completely to protect your staff from second-hand smoke.
Not only is the cigarette smell annoying but the smoke could lead to lung cancer among other complications. Even the advanced e-cigarettes emit harmful pollutants into the air. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
The good news is that you have the mandate to restrict smoking in your workplace. It is essential to make workplaces safe for everyone.
For employees to work quickly and effectively, they need to be comfortable. The quality of air in the office is a huge part of that comfort. Speak with your property manager if you are experiencing air circulation problems. The above-discussed tips should help you improve your office indoor air quality and hence improve the productivity of employees.
However, if you have issues with the maintenance of air ducts, you must let the building manager take charge. Follow the procedure provided when raising any complaints. At the same time, call in an inspection team regularly to ensure a safe place for you and your staff.