How does air quality impact the health of office dwellers?

If a work environment has a negative impact on the health of the employees, it is definite that productivity will take a downslide. For employees to be at their best, workspaces should be comfortable and also, safe. Beyond these, offices should also be tailored for improving productivity. With most companies accepting and following this, a paradigm shift towards an employee-friendly set up is much needed. It is also important to realize that we often tend to overlook the significance of healthy air quality within the workplace.

It is not always possible to see inadequate ventilation or accumulation of cleaning supplies. Air quality is a broad subject and extends beyond the visible pollutants like smoke or dust. There are very hard to trace factors such as volatile organic compounds which can impact the health and productivity of the people indoors. 

The connection between indoor air quality and the productivity of your employees

A recent study conducted by Columbia University, University of California, and the University of California at San Diego have shown how air quality is essential in determining the productivity of the employees.

They had carried out the research on the employees whose wages were dependent on the weight of their daily work. Comparing their daily salaries, their researchers found that the employees have earned the least amount of wages on days with ground-level ozone readings. To put in simpler terms, when the air quality was at its worst, the workers were also least productive. The drop in productivity was sharp from 5 to 3 percent. 

Ground-level ozone is not a big issue for indoor air. And to test the veracity of this fact, the same group of researchers tried studying factory employees who had to work in the presence of high levels of suspended particulate matters. By comparing the concentration of particulate matter and the productivity of the employees there, these researchers could conclude that indoor air quality has a lot to do with the productivity level of people working there. 

Most modern offices and businesses are climate controlled which means that the doors and the windows are tightly sealed. This hinders the air to move out in a steady flow and paves the way for building up of particulate matter. Considering that in India, most businesses are operating from big cities where the indoor air quality could be impacting productivity.

Factors contributing to impacting air quality

Though it takes no effort to define what a leaking tap or a dilapidated condition means, it is not very simple to describe indoor air quality. It is a constantly changing interaction between various complicated factors working at different levels inside an indoor environment. There are some common factors that contribute to this; they include moisture and humidity, odors, and most importantly, pollutants. Also, there are some factors that have a strong influence on the comfort level along with the perception of indoor quality. 

In our country, the practice of safe housekeeping has a lot more to do than traditional office settings to manufacturing areas, factories, and warehouses that are often encumbered with the problems of hazardous elements, combustible dust particles, and flammables. According to the experts’ opinion, workplace safety programs should include each and every employee to do their part in reducing indoor air pollution.

Managing air quality indoors:

First of all, it is important to remove the source of pollution. Though some pollutants can never be avoided, performing a deep clean can surely remove mold and mildew growth to a great extent. Though all pollutants play a role in impacting the air quality, those that are closest to the ground will be most concentrated. 

Another point that is often overlooked is that indoor quality often tends to be poorer than that outdoors. In light of this, improving ventilation is a major step towards boosting indoor quality and in turn, productivity.  This is very important if your office deals with a job that creates a lot of air pollution within a short span of time like cleaning activities or painting jobs.

Other activities like controlling leakage and spills, reducing chances of fire hazards, dust control, and clearing off clutter are also very important. Lastly, technology also has a role to play in keeping up the jar quality and productivity. Installing the right air filter can make a lot of difference. Making an informed decision is the most full-proof means of ensuring that the working conditions are optimized for productivity. 

Most organizations around the world are now striving to reduce their carbon footprint while minimizing the level of environmental pollution. Though it is not always possible to take care of waste management and indoor cleaning, skillful housekeeping can do a lot to achieve a proactive approach in managing air pollution indoors. 


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Gaurav Pathak
Group Director

Management Graduate with specialization in HR, Young dynamic visionary & entrepreneur, Looks after the overall operations of the company, Has in depth knowledge of FM Industry viz: branch profitability, large account management and service transition.

Gautam Pathak
Group Director

Management Graduate in Sales/Marketing and additional Qualification in Finance from Aalto University, Singapore, Strong network in the industry, Heads overall marketing of the Company, In depth knowledge of contract staffing (Employee leasing service marketing).

R. A. Pathak
Group Chairman

Management Graduate with qualification in law, 30 years of industry experience as HR/IR, Labor Law consultant to leading business entities of India.