The air of success

What’s in the air you breathe in your office?

How often do you think about the quality of the air surrounding you in the workplace? Unless there’s something obvious causing an issue, the pungent odour from a colleague’s lunch for example, then we tend not to worry too much about air quality.

But that’s a mistake. According to research, we spend on average 90% of our time indoors. Some people are lucky enough to have a job that allows them to venture outside more often, but for the rest of us we have to make the most of the light that makes its way through the corner window and the breeze that blows in from the open door. 

Sources of indoor air pollution impacting the quality of the air in a building vary greatly and can include:

  • Particles from printers
  • Coughs and germs from co-workers
  • Chemicals from cleaning products
  • Dust mites from chairs and carpets
  • Moulds and bacteria
  • Pollen carried in on clothes
  • Pollutants from outdoors

What to look out for in your office

There are a few common symptoms that indicate the quality of your office air may be causing issues:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Allergies
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Nausea

If you suffer from any of these symptoms or have staff showing signs of these symptoms, there may cause for concern. The American Industrial Hygiene Association provides a good summary of the impact of indoor air quality (IAQ).

Indoor air quality

When we think about the contributing factors to employee wellbeing, especially concentration and eye strain, noise and lighting are often considered before IAQ.

Damian Carrington, writing in The Guardian, reports statistics showing IAQ contributes significantly to ill health. Although the government and the World Health Organization set “acceptable” limits for air pollution, there’s no level of exposure that can be seen to be safe, according to the report.

A breath of fresh air

Personal air cleaners such as the ActiVita Air Cleaner deploy negative ions to improve the quality of air over a small area. The ActiVita Air Cleaner will look after an area 8m in radius, enough to serve a small team of office workers. Pollen is a great example of an indoor air pollutant. 1 in 5 people in the UK suffer from hay fever and pollen allergy symptoms are estimated to cause between a 3-8% decrease in productivity. Indeed, pollen can be more concentrated indoors than outdoors.

Negative ions attach themselves to the pollen particles to effectively remove them from the air. There’s a productivity gain to be had too; in a study conducted by Surrey University, people exposed to high levels of negative ions showed a 28% increase in overall task performance.

Check out the Rexel ActiVita range for more details about how a few changes to your workplace can help you feel healthier and happier.