How indoor air quality can help creating a better working environment
Have you ever thought about how indoor air quality in the workplace can affect our health and performance?
Many of us spend a large amount of our time at work; in fact, the average person will spend more than 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. So, it is safe to say that our jobs and the workplace we live daily, can make a huge impact on ourselves and our quality of life.
Of course, there are many aspects that can make a workplace great (or not), but among the most important aspects there is definitely indoor air quality.
Air is a primary necessity for human beings. Just think about the fact that we can starve for days and we’ll still survive, but we can only live minutes without breathing. And yet we do not see the importance of breathing quality air as we see the importance of eating quality foods.
That is especially true for indoor environments, where we spend more than 90% of our time without really knowing that indoor environments can be up to 8 times more polluted than outdoors.
So, how indoor air quality can help creating a good working environment?
Indoor air is usually more polluted than outdoor air, as it contains a wide range of particles including dust, bacteria and pollen. These particles can make employees more susceptible to eye and nose irritation, cold, flu, dizziness, and headache, other than impacting mood, cognitive abilities and causing fatigue.
Poor indoor air quality, then, is a symptom of an unhealthy work environment, which also causes employees to fall ill more often, increasing the amount of sick leaves. A good ventilation system instead, helps creating a good workplace with good indoor air quality, making employees healthier and more productive.
While the link between indoor air quality and lower risk for headaches, skin irritation and fatigue while at work is commonly recognized, we have seen different interesting studies supporting the idea that high-quality indoor air in the workplace often results in better employees’ performance.
Joseph Allen, for instance, ran a study in which office workers took cognitive tests in rooms with different indoor air quality levels and different air exchange. Scores on decision-making and critical thinking tests were higher in these rooms with better indoor air quality. That proves how indoor air quality can impact the way people perform, and then how it can determine people’s ability to be productive.
But there is more than just productivity. A good workplace with a good indoor environment, not only helps maximizing employee’s potential, but also helps showing their wellbeing matters.
Taking care of employees’ wellbeing, is important for employer on so many levels, and is a great way to provide employees with a consistent, transparent and meaningful experience. That, of course, can translates into better employees’ retention and lower recruiting costs for companies.
Covid-19: a current topic
While the COVID-19 emergency has had a huge impact on the way we all live our lives, it also seems to have made indoor air quality even more important.
In fact, while outdoors any virus naturally dilutes in the air, in indoor environments this dilution process is not as easy, and in most cases must be ensured by proper ventilation.
In fact, after the first lockdown, as businesses were reopening and we were going back to our activities in offices, we have learned how to minimize the risks of infection in indoor environments, using masks, but also using proper air exchange and filtration to clean indoor air and keep us as safe.
The importance of mechanical ventilation
Mechanical ventilation systems represent a great solution to provide people and businesses with modern and high-quality working environment, especially in those buildings whose design does not include windows for better thermal insulation.
In those cases, mechanical ventilation systems are the only way to guarantee proper ventilation of the premises.
But what do we mean by proper ventilation? We essentially mean introducing a certain amount of fresh and filtered air into the building while extracting exhausted air. This process allows to dilute the presence of dangerous particles and viruses indoors, continuously cleaning the air in the enclosed space and ensuring fresh air is constantly provided to the occupants in the building.
Mechanical ventilation systems are great resources because not only can maintain thermal comfort, they can also ensure great indoor air quality levels throughout the day. Then, they are also a great solution to minimize the spread of viruses, which is important to keep the occupants of the building safe.
These systems are becoming more and more important in modern office buildings, as they can provide a variety of benefits, from ensuring people’s health and wellbeing, to guaranteeing economic benefits to companies. That is why mechanical ventilation systems represent a solution that should not be overlooked when the goal is providing people and businesses with a modern and high-quality working environment.
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