According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), poor indoor air quality can have several long-term and short-term effects on a person's overall health, including respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. For many people, poor indoor air quality causes minor respiratory issues that can equal several sick days.
Don't allow your office's poor indoor air quality to negatively impact your efficiency and your employees' quality of life. Instead, here are a few ways you can improve your space's air quality.
Maintain the Office's HVAC System
An improperly-maintained HVAC system can contribute to your office's poor indoor air quality in several ways. For example, if the ducts aren't cleaned regularly, the dust, dirt, and bacteria that build up in the ducts can blow into your office when the system kicks on.
When the central air conditioner isn't working effectively in summer, it cannot effectively eliminate humidity from the office air as well. This can lead to mold and mildew growth.
Your office's HVAC system should be inspected at least once a year. If you do not own the office space, ask the property manager to keep on top of the HVAC maintenance.
Ask Employees to Keep Their Desk Clean
A half-empty coffee cup, unemptied garbage bins, and old leftovers in the refrigerator can harbor bacteria and fungi, create nasty odors, and impact the office air quality. Talk to your employees and coworkers about keeping their own space and the rest of the office clean.
Here are a few rules to consider implementing in your office to help keep it clean and improve the indoor air quality:
Clean up messes and spills right away. Encourage employees to wipe up any coffee or water spills right away. Standing water and sticky messes can harbor bacteria and create odors.
Provide basic cleaning supplies. Supply the essentials so your employees can clean up after themselves. Choose safe, natural products that don't contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. This includes aerosol sprays.
Throw away any uneaten food. Insist employees toss out their leftovers, including beverages, in outdoor trash cans. Any food or drinks that are thrown away inside should be taken to an outdoor can before the day is over.
Post these rules and send reminder emails to ensure all employees follow the office cleanliness rules.
Hire a Maintenance Staff
Encouraging office staff to clean up their messes is a great start. However, if you want to ensure any spills, garbage, and leftovers don't lead to poor indoor air quality, hire a service to clean your office throughout the week. Insist the crew only uses safe, natural cleansers. The number of times the cleaning crew visits each week is dependent upon the number of employees and the size of your staff.
For example, if you have a large office and several staff members, consider hiring a crew to clean up every night of the work week. For smaller offices, you may only need a cleaning crew a couple days a week.
Invest in Air Purifiers
Finally, install air purifiers throughout your office or ask an HVAC technician about installing an air purifier add-on to your HVAC system. For example, if you have a smaller workspace, you may benefit from installing smaller, portable air purifiers throughout the office. However, if your office space is larger or you have multiple floors, you would benefit more from an HVAC add-on air purifier.
From insisting on company-wide cleanliness policies and installing an HVAC air purifier to scheduling a yearly HVAC system inspection, there are several things you can do to improve your office's indoor air quality. Contact a local commercial air conditioning service like Robison Air to learn more.