by Andrew Mairs | Marketing Executive
There are a lot of suspects in the hunt for the killer of productivity in the workplace. Everything from sitting down to a lack of natural light has been put under the microscope, some go more unnoticed than others and some are completely invisible.
Whilst largely overshadowed by the ongoing issue of outdoor pollution, studies have taken place to show the negative impact poor indoor air quality is having on not just our productivity but also our health and well-being in our offices and in our homes.
The Environmental Protection Agency of America found that indoor air quality can be up to 5 times as worse for us as outdoor air. Most people have an idea of the contributors to outdoor pollution i.e. fumes from vehicles, burning of fossil fuels etc. It’s not as well-known what causes indoor pollution. In an indoor setting, pollutants can be found from several common sources including:
- Building materials and furnishings
- Cleaning products
- Heating and cooling devices
- Computers and printers
For us office dwellers, for more hours of the day than not we are breathing in recycled, contaminated, second-hand air which over time will have a negative effect on our performance and health.
One way to combat poor quality air is through good ventilation which can improve productivity and employee energy and reduce the transmission of germs and infections reducing the time and money spent on employee absence every year. With the loss of productivity in the UK due to absenteeism totalling £18bn in 2017 and with it predicted to rise to £21bn by 2020 anything that can be done to help reduce these numbers should be taken into consideration.
The ability to increase productivity through the improvement of ventilation was tested by Dr. Joseph Alan at Harvard University in 2017. Dr. Alan found that his test workers, when subjected to better ventilation, less chemicals and less carbon dioxide showed increased results across 9 different cognitive function tests with the biggest improvement being found in the skills that are used in planning and making strategic decisions.
Studies like this one show that there really is a benefit to taking your office air quality seriously and going above and beyond the required standard can reward you with more from your employees and potentially increase revenue. Oh, and it helps keeps everyone happy and healthy as well which is always a worthy cause.