Indoor air quality is a big concern all around. Everybody wants to breathe in clean and healthy air, but in the confines of a closed space, that becomes a problem. This is what happens inside an office, as well. To maintain a comfortable temperature inside, the office is closed all around with just an industrial-grade or commercial-grade HVAC system bringing in the fresh air. But is that enough or there is more we can do to improve the indoor air quality? There are many ways in which you can improve the office indoor air quality. Today, we shall discuss some of them. Hopefully, you will be able to replicate them in your office to create a healthier working environment.
How To Improve Office Indoor Air Quality?
Here are a few things that you can do to improve the quality of the air circulating inside your office building.
1. Regular Maintenance Of The HVAC System – Periodic maintenance helps avoid problems. Not only that, as a part of regular maintenance, the entire HVAC unit is given a thorough cleaning. Cleaning ensures that there are no buildups inside the unit, which could hamper its air cleaning efficiency. Additionally, it also ensures full working efficiency, thereby keeping the utility bills low and the office at the desired temperature throughout the day. A clean unit will not release dust and other particle matter inside the building through the circulating air.
2. Keep Vents & Grilles Open & Replace Air Filters – In an office building, the vents and registers are strategically placed to cool or warm the entire office space. These vents and grilles should never be closed as that will harm the indoor air quality as well as the maintenance of the desired temperature. If there is furniture, office equipment, or boxes blocking the vents and registers, remove them immediately and place them elsewhere. When the vents and registers are blocked or closed, air does not circulate properly. When air does not circulate properly stale and unclean air remains in circulation and cause health problems. Air filters, too, need to be changed regularly so that they trap all particles and micro-organisms floating in the air efficiently.
3. Add Green Plants – Green plants are pleasing to the eye and also lift the environment inside the office. They add a splash of color and break the monotony of concrete and chrome. Green plants are natural air cleaners. Some plants more so than others, for example, aloe-vera plant, rubber tree, snake plant, bamboo palm, and red-edged dracaena. These plants are known to remove toxins from the air, naturally making your office air pure and healthy.
4. Follow Smoking Policy Rigorously – Every office building has a smoking policy. Under that policy, smoking areas are clearly identified, and the rest of the space is a no-smoking zone. If you are a smoker, you need to follow the rules stringently and go out to the smoking area only for a smoke break. You cannot smoke inside the no-smoking zone.
5. Maintain Healthy Humidity Levels – Too much and too low, both excesses are bad. The same stands true for the humidity levels. If your HVAC system is unable to remove humidity adequately from the building, you need to ask the management to invest in a commercial dehumidifier. When buying such a product, you should invest in one which acts as a dehumidifier during summers and monsoons and as a humidifier in winters. The right humidity levels need to be maintained because they discourage the presence of suspended particles in the air and also prevent mold and mildew formation.
6. Keep The Office Clean – Regular vacuuming and dusting of the office are necessary to get rid of all the dust particles which find their way inside and get settled in corners, crevices, and surfaces. See to it that the cleaning staff does a thorough job.
7. Prompt Disposal Of Garbage – Garbage in the form of bits of paper, take-out food boxes, wrapping papers, cigarette butts, etc. should all be gotten rid of every day. Garbage in any form is not good. It not only destroys the aesthetics of the space but also lends an unpleasant odor to the air. The odor of any intensity means thriving bacteria and viruses.
8. Open Windows for Fresh Air – Every once in a while, even the office space needs to be aired out. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, and fresh air dilutes the impurities present in the air inside. Consider opening a few windows that bring in fresh air and light without terminating the ideal temperature maintained inside the building. If required, this can be done on a holiday or a non-working day when the central heating and cooling are switched off.
9. Add An Air Purification System – The pollution levels are at an all-time high. In such times investing in an air purification system is the most sensible idea. This way, the indoor air quality can be controlled in a much more efficient manner.
10. Use Professional Duct Cleaning Services – Getting the maintenance of your HVAC unit done is not enough. Every year the ductwork needs to be cleaned professionally. Ducts are the dirtiest part of the HVAC system. It is because they are closed, and one cannot access them completely to clean them in their entirety. Sometimes the ducts may get blocked because the buildups have become so large that they clog it. In fact, the ducts are a favorite place for pests and rodents to make their home. From their dander (hair and dead skin cells), too, becomes a part of the air that you breathe. These are all allergens that impact your health. Professional duct cleaners will clean the whole network of ducts to get rid of all such things that spoil the quality of the air inside the office.
Final Words On Improving Air Quality
When working in an office, it is not just one person’s job to keep it clean. Each person can contribute a little towards making it a conducive environment. Follow the office rules, keep your surroundings clean, and buy one small plant for your desk. These three things themselves will drastically improve the office indoor air quality.