How to Improve Your Office Air Quality

Your employees spend the majority of their time working for you in the office, and in order to maximise their productivity and well-being, making changes to ensure good quality air in the office is one important way you can do this.

How to tell if your office has poor air quality

There are various signs that your office’s air quality may be poor and in need of a remedy. Poor air quality will affect the health of your employees, so if you notice the presence of the following symptoms in your employees, it’s possible you need to improve your air quality:

  • Dry skin or rashes
  • Irritated and dry nose, eyes and throats
  • Frequent headaches
  • Sinus congestion
  • Problems with conditions such as asthma or other difficulty breathing
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Frequent coughing and sneezing
  • Allergies playing up

Common causes of poor air quality

There are a variety of reasons your office experiences poor air quality. If your office is in or near an industrial or factory setting, you may need to deal with dust or chemical pollutants. If this is not the case, there are a number of traditional office pollutants that could be affecting your employees. Formaldehyde in wallpaper is a common contributing factor to poor air quality, along with the chemicals used in cleaning supplies. Once more, dust may also play a role in the level of air quality.

If your office has a history of water damage, you may additionally want to check that you aren’t suffering from mildew or mould. If this is the cause of your poor air quality, you will need to identify the source of the outbreak and take care of the underlying problem causing it.

A great place to start improving the air quality of your office is to remove any obvious contaminants, take note of any mould or mildew, and if you have found any, have the entire area inspected to gain an understanding of how deep the problem is.

Improving air quality

In the winter, air quality can be worse due to intentions of making the office warm, which in reality will only really make it more of a stuffy, uncomfortable environment. There are many things you can do in order to improve the air quality, regardless of the time of year, and there are generally three base strategies you can follow to achieve this: Source control, ventilation improvements and air purification.

Source control

By identifying sources of pollution and then minimising them, you can have a tremendous improvement in your air quality.

  • Control dust and dirt- make sure your office is vacuumed, dusted and scrubbed frequently during the winter months. You should use this time to keep an eye out for any wet areas where mould may grow.
  • Control heating emissions- properly maintain all your heating sources, testing them to ensure they work correctly before winter. You can also adjust the controls to lower your emissions, improving air quality and helping the environment.
  • Make sure the cleaning products being used to clean the office are non-toxic.
  • Don’t make changes until spring- winter is the worst season to improve your office by installing new insulation or carpets, as well as bringing in new furniture or cabinets made from pressed wood. This is due to all these things releasing small amounts of chemicals into the air for a long while after they’ve arrived.

Ventilation improvements

Funnel out polluted air, whilst encouraging clean air into your office space by easily and effectively improving air ventilation.

  • Whenever possible, open windows and doors throughout the office.
  • Strategically place fans to remove stagnant air away from your employees.
  • Ensure your heating sources are adequately vented.

Air purification

Removing contaminants from the air makes a huge distance to your office space.

  • Diffuse purifying oils- use a diffuser to spread essential oils with anti-bacterial properties, such as tea tree, lemon or grapefruit.
  • Replace your filters-  Regularly clean or replace the filters on your heaters and air purifiers to prevent polluted air being brought back into the office.
  • Buy plants- Plants have the ability to absorb toxins from the air, making them great for a busy office. If you’re unsure which plants to buy, there are many recommendations of plants well suited to office life. You do, however, need to be aware that mould often grows around plants that need watering regularly. Plants will additionally lift the morale of the office, injecting life and colour into the workplace.

At Sovereign, we ensure all our air conditioning systems leave you with the cleanest air possible, so you can relax in a fresh office and focus on your work.

Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.