Indoor air quality monitoring is the perfect tonic to sooth staff safety concerns.
In the topsy-turvy, post-pandemic world of work, employers and HR managers are implementing all kinds of imaginative initiatives to a) encourage their staff back to the office, and b) stem the Great Resignation.
Wellness programmes, viewed as important elements of organisations’ people strategies even before Covid-19 hit, have evolved to include weird and wonderful add-ons, from ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’ to Swedish Foot Massages.
All of this is designed to coax employees out of their comfortable home office and back to the workplace, at least for a few days a week.
Turn in the tide
Given the clear benefits to the work-life balance that WFH entails – which have been very well-documented over the past two years – it’s easy to understand why employees have been reluctant to return to the workplace.
However, all the signs indicate that a turn in the tide is on the horizon: as the pandemic (hopefully) fades into the background, city streets are likely to regain their pulse as more workers return to the workplace, for more days per week. But you can be certain that they’ll want to feel safe when they get there.
Thankfully, the vast majority of employers are receptive to these concerns and are willing to invest in the systems required to protect staff health.
Who can forget the effort during earlier ‘re-openings’ – the sudden installation of plastic screens and hand sanitisers at every desk, and black-and-yellow chevron lines shepherding masked-up staff down the socially distant corridors?
Now that we know beyond doubt that Covid-19 – like so many other transmissible infections – is airborne, it makes perfect sense that indoor air quality is rising high among employees’ wellness concerns.
Impact on health and wellbeing
Consider the findings of a recent global survey conducted by Honeywell. Titled ‘Workplace Air Quality: A Global Concern Emerges’, the report provides comparisons across markets and facility types, including office buildings, hospitals, airports, schools and hotels.
“An overwhelming majority (89%) of those surveyed agree that the quality of air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and well-being. Nearly all (98%) believe safe IAQ provides at least one health benefit: better overall physical health (62%); fewer allergies, less sneezing and coughing (60%); less exposure to airborne contaminants (57%); better overall mental health (53%); and improved productivity and problem-solving (43%).
“Nearly all (90%) of surveyed workers consider it at least somewhat important to be kept informed of their building’s air quality. This includes 65% who consider it very or extremely important.
“About two in five respondents (41%) can accurately identify all the factors that contribute to indoor air quality. More than a third (36%) do not know that CO2 level factors into IAQ, and 41% are unaware that humidity plays a part.”
If you’re among that two in five, you can skip the next few paragraphs. If not, you might be interested to know that the five main contributing factors are:
- Elevated CO2 levels indicate poor ventilation and consequently high viral transmissibility.
- High CO2 levels can also cause building occupants to feel drowsy and impact productivity.
- These tiny particles in the air can damage the respiratory system, causing illness and absenteeism.
- The WHO in 2018 reported a link between high levels of PM 2.5 and lung cancer.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
- Toxic Volatile Organic Compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.
- Buildings can experience a spike in VOCs after refurbishment or other activity.
- Can make building occupants feel uncomfortable and impact productivity.
- Humidity has also been linked to viral transmission, and the growth of mould and fungi in buildings.
- Can be a source of tension among building occupants.
- High or low temperatures can indicate energy waste resulting from poor heating control.
Given the pandemic-accelerated concern over our indoor air quality, it’s little wonder that forward-thinking employers are bringing our indoor air quality monitoring services into their wellbeing mix.
Those imposing plastic screens and incongruous chevron lines are giving way to our discreet smart sensors.
Our data reports give peace of mind to all concerned, and also provide employers and HR managers with tangible, actionable insights on their wellness activity.
And Ziggytec also has potential to generate bottom-line value, in terms of increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and, if you effectively communicate this enhanced health and safety commitment, lower staff turnover.
Let’s leave the last word to Doug Wright, CEO of Honeywell, who states: “In a competitive labour market, demonstrating an effort to create a healthier work environment can be an advantage in attracting and retaining employees.
“Every dollar invested in upgrading workplace air quality, monitoring IAQ data and communicating it to employees is a dollar strategically spent.”
If change is in the air for you, contact us today