It is very likely that a working colleague is damaging your health, and maybe you don’t know it.
Having good air quality is essential in any indoor space, including offices. We coexist with air pollution at our offices, which affects us, but perhaps you don’t realize its impact. Working with bad air quality can hurt our health, comfort, and productivity.
Let’s take a closer look at the different components of office air and their effects.
What quality of air do you breathe in your office?
Along with our human colleagues, we are accompanied by several partners when we crossed the entrance of our offices:
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide is a gas that is produced when humans breathe. When the concentration of CO2 in a room is high, it can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and decreased concentration. Elevated CO2 levels can have a significant impact on cognitive function. When CO2 levels reach more than 1,000 ppm, human decision-making, and strategic thinking are reduced.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds are a group of chemicals that include carbon and hydrogen and, to a lesser degree gases like sulfur or nitrogen. These pollutants are emitted from different sources, such as building materials, furniture, and cleaning products. These compounds can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Some VOCs can also have long-term health effects.
Particulate Matter (PM)
Particulate Matter (PM10/PM2.5) is small particles in the air that can be inhaled into the lungs. These particles can come from dust, pollen, and cigarette/combustion smoke. When we inhale a high concentration of particulate, it can cause respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
You could work in an office established in the city and in a building whose air system is not adequately filtered, allowing pollutants such as PM, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons from motor vehicle combustion to enter.
Humidity and mold
Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. When humidity is too high or too low, it can cause discomfort and health problems. High humidity can lead to mold, which can cause allergic reactions, increasing the risk of asthma. Low humidity can dry out the skin and cause respiratory problems.
When relative humidity is outside this range, dry eyes, skin irritation, and nasal congestion can occur.
Breathing poor air quality can lead us to a roller coaster of emotions!
The air quality at the office can affect our mental and emotional health. The most common effect of breathing polluted air in the office is irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. You may also experience headaches, fatigue, forgetfulness, and concentration difficulty. These symptoms can affect your productivity and your ability to perform essential tasks.
Chronic exposure to polluted air can impact our mental and emotional health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Air quality can also affect sleep.
Exposure to high concentrations of VOCs and other pollutants can disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, dragging us to problems with our mental and emotional health, such as irritability, anxiety, and depression.
To reduce the harmful effects of exposure to polluted air in the office, it is necessary to take steps to improve air quality. This can include proper ventilation, a replacement for natural cleaning products, and low-VOC building materials.