Breathe Easy | Improving Office Indoor Air Quality

Woman enjoying fresh airHave you ever noticed a group of people at work getting sick at the same time? Or exhibiting similar symptoms that seem to be linked to time spent in the office? Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) could be the culprit.

Let’s delve in a little deeper into this common and preventable problem.

Even well-run offices can experience poor indoor air quality. Indoor air quality, or indoor environmental quality, refers to how air inside of a home or office can affect a person’s comfort, health, and ability to work. This can be caused by:

  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Moisture or mold due to leaks, high humidity, or water damage
  • Construction or remodeling
  • Contaminated air (indoor and outdoor)
  • Exposure to chemicals

The Risks

Not only does poor indoor air quality pose a health risk, it costs the United States tens of billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and medical care, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additional risks include:

  • Severely threatens respiratory health
  • Causes building structural rot
  • Increases risk of illness
  • Can significantly increase utility costs

What can be done about it?

The American Lung Association recommends keeping pollutants from being added to the air in the first place. Most indoor environmental problems can be prevented by:

  • Not blocking air vents
  • Complying with the office smoking policy
  • Disposing garbage properly and promptly
  • Storing food properly
  • Watering and maintaining office plants properly

There’s no substitution for good building management. If you manage an office, there are more specific precautions that you can take to prevent poor indoor air quality. They include:

  • Working with building management on appropriate pest control practices (preferably non-chemical)
  • Creating an effective smoking policy
  • Placing office furniture and equipment in consideration of air circulation, ventilation and temperature control
  • Coordinating with building management before any remodeling or renovations

So, why does this matter?

The ultimate goal of improving your office’s indoor air quality is to minimize your employee’s exposure to pollutants (i.e. mold, viruses, bacteria, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, secondhandsmoke, radon, carbon monoxide and other combustion pollutants). Doing so can result in higher employee productivity and fewer lost work days.

Bottom line: better indoor air quality equals a better and more productive working environment.

About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946, and is located in St. Louis, Missouri. With more than 65 years of experience, Woodard is proud to serve as a preferred provider of water, fire, and smoke restoration services for residential, commercial, and institutional facilities. For more information, visit our website, or call 800.466.9308.

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