Many of us have been more aware of the harsh realities of microorganisms in the air we breathe as a result of the global COVID-19 epidemic, and how, without proper ventilation, we could be exposed to numerous types of flu and colds. Businesses are being forced to update their health and safety policies and safeguards as a result of this issue. Ventilation is one of the most important areas to analyze and reassess among the top priorities.
By NATALIE GLEN
COVID-19 and ventilating spaces
As the virus reappeared in numerous deadly waves, controlling the rate of infection became a critical aim for many offices. With the passage of time, the way to halting the spread of COVID-19 has become apparent. COVID-19 is best prevented by the use of regular ventilation and face masks, as the virus — and its various variations — is spread predominantly through droplets of water in the air and aerosol.
When given this knowledge, organizations, schools, charities, and corporations from all industries rethought their indoor air quality and its implications on COVID control. When it came to air quality, many people were surprised to learn that they didn’t have the greatest infrastructure in place to enable cleaner, regulated airflow and proper, optimal ventilation.
For at least 18 months, the workforce in many businesses has been working remotely or in a hybrid structure. COVID-19 – and one of its many versions – is still prevalent in the wider UK population, as many people are returning to work on a reduced capacity basis. As a result of the difficult task of controlling the virus’s spread, anxiety has increased in the workplace. To solve this, many offices will need to demonstrate their commitment to providing employees with safe working environments.
Understanding air quality
With the present focus on health and wellbeing – and the fear of airborne infections – the function and importance of air quality is increasingly becoming a workplace concern. It’s also not only a tendency that comes to an end with the pandemic. The winter flu, which causes millions of GP visits each year, is another example of a virus that may be spread through the air and is very contagious.
Beyond direct pathogen exposure, air quality is extremely important; environmental pollution is estimated to cause 40,000 premature deaths per year. Air pollution is frequently reduced to merely the pollutants ingested when strolling alongside a busy road. In fact, sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) abound in everyday life, ranging from fragrances and cleaning goods to construction materials and beds. The concern is how long-term health problems can be caused by uncontrolled VOC exposure. Poor air quality is frequently linked to sick building syndrome, which can result in severe and long-term illness as well as greater absenteeism rates as employees complain of fatigue.
Through carefully managed building maintenance and facilities management cleaning with the best MERV 16 filters, air quality is an easily overlooked chance to improve the health of a facility’s inhabitants. In the consumer market, polluted food and water are heavily controlled, but the air appears to be a squandered opportunity to further nurture our health.
Given that each individual consumes 11,000 liters of air per day, air quality is rarely addressed or, at the very least, regulated to the same standards as food and water. However, as air quality becomes a part of the broader public health consciousness, the epidemic is setting the stage for this to change.
Healthy buildings start with better air
The pandemic underlined the significance of regular and proper ventilation, prompting many organizations to act promptly with their future investments. Employee health has become a key target of poor building ventilation, particularly in offices. The importance of air quality has risen to the point where the government recently announced that air monitors would be installed in schools across England. Businesses that wish to guarantee the wellbeing of their returning employees are already taking notice of popular initiatives like this. Because of this sense of urgency, many people have teamed up with corporate office specialists to ensure that a building stays as healthy as possible, battling viruses through extensive cleaning, ventilation, and other security measures.
As the necessity of good ventilation became more widely recognized, many offices began to invest in it. During this time, hard FM suppliers discovered new techniques to improve air turnover in buildings, making them safer and more efficient. The increased fresh air intake has the disadvantage of putting more demand on a building’s systems. Because of increased energy use, even managing indoor temperatures has become increasingly challenging. However, many organizations, particularly those with modern offices, may rapidly realize that such steps are unnecessary, even if they are pricey and energy-intensive. An air sensor can assist regulate the quality of the air circulating through a place more effectively. CO2 sensors are a low-cost approach to assess ventilation. There are, of course, more advanced choices on the market that will examine everything from air pressure to predicted virus load. Buildings can check air quality within their daily performance ratings using this equipment, which is easily available.
Air quality and the future
The residents of a building, employers, and everyone who comes into contact with your site care about the air quality. However, with goals to make the country greener and the UK government’s goal of reaching net-zero by 2050, monitoring CO2 and other air pollutants will become more crucial for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to fostering sustainability.
The pandemic’s various demands have driven rapid technological innovation, which has revolutionized the way we work, socialize, and has the potential to affect so much more in the coming months.
Scents can affect our productivity
This is always wonderful news, no matter what business you work in – whether we’re trying to motivate our colleagues or ourselves! Please bear with us while we go over the science behind it; basically, when we detect a scent, it goes straight to our brain to be processed. Our neurons send it to two different places on the way there: the olfactory bulb, which recognizes the scent, and the thalamus, which controls motor activity. This is how some aromas can make us feel energized (for example, how some coffee drinkers can feel energized before ever taking a sip).
Rosemary, lemon, and mint are just a few of the smells that can help us stay motivated at work. Among our own line of scented taper candles, we have several fantastic citrus flavors and we’re not the only ones who love them – in fact, lemon and rosemary have even been reported to circulate via air conditioning ducts, giving employees additional mental and physical vitality. (If you want our personal recommendations, Joy and Shine are great quality scented candles that will make you feel energized!)