Research carried out by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive has shown that the quality of air in the workplace can make a significant difference to the health and the performance of the people working in the building.
In its guidance notes the HSE says that work places should be adequately ventilated in a way that allows fresh i’m feeling curious, clean air to be drawn into the building uncontaminated and be circulated properly.
This could be by someithing as simple as an open window but plainly in cold weather this would not be an option. Most large workplaces these days are fitted with some form of ducted air ventilation system, which can produce a regular supply of circulated, clean and filtered warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer.
But crucial to the system’s effectiveness are good design, adequate maintenance and efficient operation. For example, in winter a hot stuffy atmosphere if ventilation filters have not been kept clean and dust free, is likely to be the ideal atmosphere for spreading the seasonal cold or flu, but equally will not contribute to the occupants feeling alert and is likely to affect their concentration and performance.
To ensure adequate moisture in the air, some organisations install humidifiers, but one of the best and most cost effective ways to improve air quality and mental well being is to have plants in rooms.
According to research productivity increases 12% when people perform tasks in a room containing plants compared to people in a room without plants and having real plants in the office can reduce absenteeism because up o 40% of time off work is the result of exposure to indoor irritants that have caused allergies and asthma.
Also there is a psychological effect of having plants around that affects both workers and clients or customers, with a noticeable improvement in their sense of wellbeing, which can result in increased sales.
However, while adding some greenery can have both physical and psychological benefits the air duct system will still require regular maintenance and cleaning. Ventilators and filters can become clogged with dust and other debris and ductwork cleaning is essential to remove deposits that collect over time inside the system.
How frequently a cleaning and maintenance regime is needed depends on what operations are being carried out in a building. For instance, in a manufacturing environment, there may be a degree of dust, sawdust or other types of particle that gets into the air from materials being used in making the product.
By contrast, the office is less likely to generate large quantities of particles that need to be removed from the air. However, regular air duct cleaning is still necessary to ensure a clean environment in which to work.