Expert explains why good air quality is vital for health, business performance and safe working conditions
With the detrimental effects of air pollution on health becoming increasingly prevalent, air quality is earning more recognition for its importance.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 7 million deaths occur annually as a result of air pollution, with everyone being affected in some way.
Here, Chunli Cao, co-founder of Healthy Air Technology, a specialist designer and manufacturer of air purifiers, discusses how the standard of air quality can affect business environments, both in terms of creating a safe space for employees and improving productivity levels.
How air quality affects our health
Air quality is significant for our health, and being exposed to so many pollutants daily has extreme negative consequences.
The damaging effects of poor air quality can come in the form of air pollution, higher concentrations of dangerous air particles, as well as airborne diseases such as COVID-19.
There are further negative health effects associated with low air quality, such as asthma, lung cancer and pneumonia – according to the WHO, almost 50% of all pneumonia deaths for children younger than five are caused by being exposed to household air pollution.
With such issues only set to increase, looking at how to tackle the matter is essential.
“As we spend around 90% of our time in buildings, ensuring air quality is monitored here can help both individuals and businesses.
“Given that one in five people are affected by respiratory diseases, the knock-on effects of poor air quality on health are plain to see, with workers more likely to take sick days as a result,” states Chunli.
Put simply, a larger amount of sick days taken per year correlates to a larger amount of money lost for businesses. Therefore, figures like 149.3 million working days being lost in 2021 are not something to take lightly.
“With air quality being so crucial for our health, tackling the root of the problem is vital to help prevent a loss of work for businesses,” says Chunli.
As well as lost work, air pollution can affect with how productive people are, with lower air quality increasing tiredness and reducing overall productivity levels.
“Businesses should consider what measures they have in place for improving air quality, because they are hubs for diseases to spread between staff.
“Businesses may not be the root of the problem, but they can help in tackling the problem by providing air quality solutions, which will of course benefit them with improved productivity levels and reduced sicknesses,” adds Chunli.
Why businesses should take steps to improve their air quality
The COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to problems with air quality and the spread of airborne diseases, and businesses have multiple reasons to ensure they are monitoring their air quality.
In the last two years, there has been a shift in the attitude towards work, with the COVID-19 lockdowns driving a change to incorporate working from home, which has remained a key part of how businesses operate today.
“If businesses cannot function with working from home structures, it is vital they have procedures in place to protect their staff and create a safe working environment,” says Chunli.
This also relates to following Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) structures, whereby ensuring air quality is of a certain standard would be complying with the related guidelines, such as energy efficiency, health and safety, and working conditions.
“Having air quality of a high enough standard will contribute to businesses having safe, healthy and productive working environments.
“As air quality has such a large effect on our health, both with respiratory diseases as well as fatigue and productivity, businesses must ensure they have procedures in place for such issues, as this will make the working environment better for everyone,” comments Chunli.
In the process of improving air quality, problems with airborne illnesses and sickness days will be reduced, highlighting how businesses will be rewarded in the process.
What does the future look like for air quality?
Looking ahead, the rising cost of living crisis may cause staff to feel driven to return to the office.
“Although working from home has its benefits, the cost of living, such as heating, may create another shift in the attitude to working preferences, with more people wishing to work from the office.
“If this is the case, creating a safe working environment will be even more necessary with an influx of employees returning to one building,” comments Chunli.
With indoor working environments more able to control their air quality, meeting ESG standards and even Sustainable Development Goals, such as Good Health and Well-being, can be accomplished.
Chunli adds, “Adjusting the societal attitude to air quality and raising awareness for its effects on our health is vital. A right to clean air is just as important as a right to clean water.
“We need to take action now, and this can help protect against potential future pandemics, and businesses are a key place to start making that change.”
Healthy Air Technology is a leading specialist in the production of air purifiers, using advanced technology that effectively filters and kills bacteria and viruses without any negative effects on health in the process.
It has won a Red Dot Award for its design, where it uses unique DNO Technology that allows air to be filtered and released as clean to a very high standard.
To find out more about Healthy Air Technology and the work it does, get in touch with a member of the team.