Office Air Quality Impacts Workers’ Health and Productivity

People at the Office

Office workers spend at least eight hours in the office, which is quite a long time to be in any enclosed space. What most employees are not aware of is the indoor air quality of their office space which, if not properly monitored, can have adverse effects on their health and their ability to work.

People tend to be complacent with regards to air pollution, thinking that they’re protected from visible pollutants (smoke, smog) once they get indoors. However, studies have found that indoor air quality can be more compromised than outdoor air, risking the health of millions of workers unaware of such dangers in their workplace. Clinicair agrees that the walls of office buildings are not sufficient protection from multiple causes of bad indoor air quality.

Pollutants Outside and Inside

Offices located in industrial areas are often subject to emissions generated by commercial facilities. Other offices get exposed to harmful vehicle exhaust if they’re built adjacent to major expressways. An excerpt from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that other sources of office air pollution come from “building maintenance activities, pest control, housekeeping, renovation or remodeling, new furnishings or finishes, and building occupant activities.”

The Impact on Productivity

The carbon dioxide (CO2) levels brought by such pollutants not only pose respiratory health issues, but it also compromises mental focus and concentration.

Researchers from Harvard University and Syracuse University conducted a study that observed the cognitive performance of workers after being subjected to differing CO2 levels in a simulated office environment. Results of the experiment showed participants scoring 15% worse when exposed to moderate CO2 levels, and turning up the CO2 to higher levels resulted in 50% worse performance compared to low-CO2 days.

The results of such studies raise concerns among scientists, what with the rising CO2 levels worldwide. Scientists plan to conduct further research on exactly why CO2 has a significant impact on cognition.