Air quality in the workplace, the worrying findings

Introduction 

We’ve recently conducted a survey that looked at the impact that air quality has on UK office workers productivity and wellbeing. The survey came back with some very worrying results and we aren’t the only ones who have found such results. 

Hubbub 

Environmental charity Hubbub asked workers across the country their views on air pollution and air quality and it revealed that many are more aware of its dangers than we think; over two thirds say that employers should be making sure that the workplace is safe from air pollution. 

When Hubbub asked workers, what measures they would like to see put in place by their employers;  47% said they wanted air purifiers installing in the office and 64% of workers say they would find a potential employer more attractive if they had an air pollution policy in place. 

Looking at the findings from Hubbubs research and our own, it’s clear that workers want more to be done about air pollution in the office, so then why is it not at the top of every company’s priorities?  

Air quality and wellbeing 

One answer could be that we can’t physically see the quality of the air, so it doesn’t pose a direct threat. In our ‘Air Quality and Wellbeing at Work’ survey it was found that, people worry more about their appearance and being late for work more than they do about pollution/air quality. Yet, 80% think that indoor air quality is having a negative effect on their health and productivity and 56% are worried about the air quality in the area that they work. 

We all notice air quality in our outdoor environment but less so indoors. Outdoors, when very polluted, you can see and taste and smell it. But indoors, you often can’t detect what’s there. When people can’t see something, they dismiss it. 

Solutions 

At the moment there are no strict rules yet around the standard of the air we breathe in workplaces but there are things that we can do. 

Air quality monitoring is a great way to evaluate the quality of your indoor air, from this you can then decide what are the best next steps for your company. Air filters are a great way of getting rid of the most harmful pollutants in the air, but they don’t reduce CO2. 

Plants are a great way to reduce CO2 and humidity in the air, NASA conducted a piece of research that investigated plants that actively clean the air. The list included plants lie peace lily’s and chrysanthemums.