How poor IAQ impacts Employee Safety and Productivity
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) directly impacts health and productivity in the workplace. Indoor air pollution may not be visible, but the symptoms of it are diminished cognitive function, poor concentration and reduced productivity. Employers need to understand the risks of poor indoor air quality and the steps they can take to improve it.
There are several ways poor indoor air quality in the workplace can directly affect employees’ wellness. The U.S. EPA reports indoor air pollution can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, respiratory illnesses, heart disease and even cancer.
In addition to bodily illnesses, poor indoor air quality also significantly impacts employees’ productivity at work. Studies have found a few key conditions caused by indoor air pollution that closely correlate to workplace performance.
Reduced cognitive function
A 2021 study by Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers identified a connection between the cognitive function of in-office employees and workplace indoor air quality. The study included employees across multiple countries, age groups and professions. They tracked levels of indoor air pollution over time and employees were given a short test periodically throughout the day.
The results of this study revealed that when indoor air pollution was higher, employees showed lower cognitive function. They took longer to respond to questions on the tests, answered fewer questions correctly and needed more help to focus. These symptoms may not be obvious at first glance, but the Harvard study revealed a clear pattern across numerous offices and industries…