As facility manager, you are continuously seeking ways to improve the work environment for yourself and the other employees. As employees spend more and more time indoors, indoor air quality (IAQ) is a real concern for the overall health of employees. A previous blog post identified signs that your workplace IAQ is harmful. As a continuation to that post, read on to learn how you can improve your workplace IAQ.
1. Keep it clean
Dirt, dust and moisture are the primary sources of irritants, so keeping the workplace clean is the number one strategy you can employ to improve your facility’s IAQ. Employees track in dirt and moisture from the outside environment, making flooring one of the most important surfaces to keep clean. Employ an entryway system to stop dirt at the door and be sure to clean flooring regularly. Because garbage and dirty dishes can also contribute to poor IAQ, regular janitorial maintenance is necessary, and employees should be encouraged to clean up their own workspaces. Moisture’s contribution to the growth of mold and mildew requires that spills and leaks be addressed immediately.
2. Ensure quality air flow
Workspaces are becoming more air tight in order to preserve energy efficiency, but this benefit can result in stale air if an air conditioning system is not installed. Distributed air flow should be uninterrupted, so check regularly to ensure that air vents are not blocked. In addition, make sure HVAC units are maintained properly to ensure their effectiveness. Filters should be cleaned or changed every quarter, at minimum.
Smoking should never occur inside the building in order to maintain a healthy IAQ. Be sure to designate specific smoking areas outdoors for employees who smoke. All smoking areas should be away from windows or doors to ensure the smoke does not get inside the workspace.
3. Add some greenery
The American Society for Horticultural Science has performed multiple studies regarding indoor plants and their effects on IAQ. They’ve found that plants act as natural air filters and can significantly reduce air pollution, especially when it comes to harmful VOCs. Placing low-maintenance indoor plants within the workspace can be an inexpensive way to improve the air quality, if they are properly maintained. Wilting or rotting leaves can actually have a negative effect on IAQ. Overwatering the plants adds unnecessary moisture to the air and can also negatively affect the air, so a maintenance plan for the plants is also a necessary step.
4. Inspect any chemicals
Any chemicals that come in the building should be vetted for harmful VOCs by the facility manager beforehand. It’s a general rule of thumb that if something has a strong odor it probably contains VOCs — even if it’s a good smell like an air freshener. Encourage natural smells and utilize natural cleaning chemicals when possible. Integrating IAQ concerns into your buying habits will ensure chemicals coming in are safe.
A renovation or remodel is one of the biggest offenders of IAQ. If a renovation or remodel is occurring, research the materials brought into the building, as harmful VOCs can come from sources like textiles, fabrics, paints and glues.
milliCare experts know how to help maintain a healthy workplace IAQ and want to partner with you to make your facility shine. Look for a location near you to get started on improving your workplace IAQ.