How Clean Buildings (with clean air!) Boost Productivity
Clean living is in the air—literally. It’s not just a mantra echoed in seemingly every consumer industry, it is a lifestyle that is quickly becoming a necessary way of life. The effects of climate change are both better understood and more recognizable now than ever, and companies are seizing on the benefits available through smart building technologies.
Clean living is in the air—literally. It’s not just a mantra echoed in seemingly every consumer industry, it is a lifestyle that is quickly becoming a necessary way of life. The effects of climate change are both better understood and more recognizable now than ever, and companies are seizing on the benefits available through smart building technologies to combat employees’ health concerns and support them in more holistic ways.
Good Air Boosts Productivity
Happier, Clear-Headed People Work Harder
Clean air is the best kind of drug—the benefits to your mind and body are endless, and there are no negative side effects. Consider how euphoric it can be to get a breath of fresh air after sitting in a stuffy room for hours. It isn’t just the sensation of finally being out of that space or relief to not be breathing in someone else’s breath; it’s the reintroduction of healthy levels of oxygen that give you a full-body high and make you instantly recharged for your next task. A constant source of clean air can keep a building full of employees at that same level of work-readiness all day long.
Employees Work More, Not Just Better
Healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees are productive employees. While some criteria are measurable only with sophisticated testing and only observable in reports on that data, there is one readily quantifiable criterium for any employer: employees actually show up to work more often. In fact, exposure to better air quality for roughly one-third of the work week is enough to impart such dramatic health effects that fewer sick days are taken and people actually do more when they are present for work.
Better Air Quality Improves Employee Retention
Personal Health Benefit
Let’s face it, it makes us feels good when someone cares, even when the ultimate corporate concern is its bottom line. When an employee has the choice between working for two identical companies with the one difference being Company A offers a ‘clean’ work environment and Company B doesn’t, nearly all employees will choose to work for Company A. Even if an employee doesn’t understand the health benefits of clean building technologies or simply doesn’t care, a benefit is a benefit and everyone wants as much as they can get out of any deal.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Personal health benefits aside, clean building technologies are specifically designed to reduce environmental impact. Whether or not people are willing to act on their own to recycle, reduce, and reuse, most recognize and appreciate the ecological and societal effects of putting less garbage and unnecessary pollution back into the environment. Working for a company that actually walks the walk when it comes to clean living can make employees feel better about their own lifestyles and create a sort of emotional symbiosis that extends beyond the paycheck relationships employees typically have with their employers.
HVAC Is Necessary To Ensure Superior Air Quality
Get The ‘Sick’ Air Out
‘Sick building syndrome’ is a phenomenon that occurs when indoor air pollutants cause people to experience symptoms such as eye irritation, headaches, coughing, and chest tightness. It most commonly occurs in buildings located in warmer or colder climates that get ‘sealed up’ in order to regulate inside temperature, but it can and does occur in any building where the air is stagnant. Without proper air circulation, employees can spend hours at a time breathing in each other’s air, including exhaled microbes, dust, and traces of all the chemicals regularly used in office buildings, all while using up the room’s available oxygen.
Where it was once common practice to seal up buildings to reduce and minimize utility costs from ventilation, it is now increasingly commonplace for building managers to wildly overestimate and over budget for ventilation costs. Technological advances in these areas have made great strides in energy efficiency, and the potential production costs of overestimating these types of expenses can far exceed any realized savings from erring on the side of caution when budgeting for utilities.
Proper Filtering Is Critical To Meaningful Air Circulation
Studies over the past decade show a direct relationship between ventilation and a worker’s ability to process information, make strategic decisions, and respond to crises. It is not enough, however, to just get the used, tainted air out—it has to be replaced with better air. In an ideal world, all we would have to do to get the best air quality in our office buildings is open some windows. This is certainly the case in some fortunate locations, but offices in cities of all sizes struggle with maintaining a clean and clear-minded workplace due to common air pollution.
While a full-building renovation and interior redesign is the ideal path to optimizing workplace air quality, a simple HVAC system upgrade can go a long way toward giving employees a healthier place to spend one-third of their lives and, in return, boost their overall attendance and productivity.