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How to Improve Air Quality in Office Workspaces

Indoor air quality is not always on the top of our minds as Australians. In Australia we are fortunate to have some of the cleanest air in the world, but did you know that poor air quality has a direct effect on our moods, productivity, wellbeing and health? According to the CSIRO poor indoor air quality is estimated to cost the Australian economy up to $12 billion a year and when left unchecked could lead to a host of symptoms from skin irritation, hypersensitivity, to what is known as ‘sick building syndrome (SBS)’ (a combination of irritation to the skin, eyes, throat, headaches, drowsiness, and general irritancy). This week our office interior design team takes a look at what causes poor air quality, how to improve air quality in office workspaces through some handy tips and tricks and how an office fitout or refurbishment can improve air quality and air flow in your office today.

What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality and How to Improve Air Quality in Office Spaces

In a typical home or office, there are hundreds of possible air pollutants that might be present which can be harmful to an employee’s health and wellbeing. Of these the most common are dust, mould, tobacco smoke and chemical pollutants.

  • Dust – Dust is made of fine particles of solid matter and ranges from clothing fibres, hair, dust mites, soil particles, pollen and more. Studies have found that approximately 60% of indoor dust is brought in from outside. Dust can trigger an allergic flareup in some people and dust levels should be monitored closely in any workspace.
  • Tobacco Smoke – Even when not smoking in an office, tobacco smoke can linger on clothes and skin. With more than 4000 chemicals harmful to the respiratory system, tobacco residue may be a contributing factor to your office’ indoor air quality.
  • Mould – Mould spores can build up over time in areas of high moisture such as through condensation on windows, water damage issues in the office, food and drink spills that have not been properly cleaned, and damp surfaces. Inhaling or touching mould spores can also cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
  • Chemical Pollutants – Air pollutants can be found in a range of common workplace items including office equipment, furniture, upholstery, floor coverings, cleaning supplies, and printing supplies and may emit harmful pollutants into your office environment.

7 Tips for How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Office Workspaces

  • Open Office Windows – Where possible, open up your office windows to let fresh air in and vent out stale air. This steady flow of air into your workspace is a simple fix that can dramatically improve air quality and circulation in your workspace.
  • Liven Up Your Workplace with Some Office Greenery – Office plants not only make a great addition to your office with a host of positive well-being benefits, but they are also effective carbon dioxide cleaners and oxygen producers. With any living plants, it’s important to take care of them by watering them and keeping dust off their leaves. Wilted and dying plants can bring harmful mould and pollutants into your office space.
  • Keep Your Office Clean and Tidy – Stacks of paper on desks, dusty curtains and workspaces, carpets in need of vacuuming? Keeping your office clean and tidy helps keep dust and mould at bay. Organise a weekly cleaning and dusting with your team to ensure your office is as clean as it can be.
  • Organise Regular Maintenance on Air conditioning Units and Filtration Systems – The filters on your air conditioning and ventilation systems need to be regularly cleaned or changed (ideally every 6-12 months). Dusty and clogged filters reduce airflow and increase pollutants.
  • Invest in some Portable Air Purifiers/Humidifiers – Air purifiers have come way down in cost since they were first brought to market. Having a few strategically placed air purifiers with HEPA filters can help improve air quality in the parts of the office that need it most. In addition, dry office environments can also benefit from the use of portable humidifiers.
  • Choose the Right Cleaning Products – Many common products in the office can cause pollutants to enter the air from toner cartridges in your printer to the cleaning products used for the nightly or weekly clean. Choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products, where possible, can go a long way when asking ‘how to improve indoor air quality in office’ spaces.
  • Test Air Quality at Regular Intervals – Poor indoor air quality is not always easy to notice and testing your workspace’s airflow, humidity levels, odours, dust & mould levels, and ventilation at regular intervals will give you the information you need to make the necessary changes in your workspace before it negatively affects employee health and wellbeing. If you are finding that these tips aren’t having the desired positive effects in your workspace, it may be time for an office fitout or refurbishment instead.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Office Spaces with a Fitout or Refurbishment?

If your office space has not been designed for air quality and airflow in mind you might want to consider an office fitout or refurbishment. Optimum airflow is a fundamental principle in modern office design. In buildings constructed in harsh climates, there is often a tendency to insulate the building from outdoor elements with a subsequent need for strong air ventilation and filtration systems indoors. On the other hand, in more temperate climates taking advantage of more natural elements in your office design can be an affordable way to improve overall air quality. Investing in an office redesign or refurbishment can maximum air circulation and reduce any potential contaminants in your office space.  

How can Future Fitouts Help?

At Future Fitouts, our team of fitout professionals can help evaluate your current workspace and make the changes necessary to improve overall airflow and circulation. We can help you with:

  • Air filtration systems and ducting.
  • Low-pollutant and sustainable office furniture.
  • Introduction of green solutions in your workspace.
  • Storage and filing solutions to reduce clutter.
  • Office maintenance solutions.
  • Air quality testing solutions
  • Water and storm damage repairs.
  • Internal building repairs and minor works.
  • Office furniture and workstation placement to maximum air flow.
  • Replacement of run-down furniture, ceilings, carpet tiles, and more.

Want to Learn More?

Are you interested to learn more about how to improve air quality in office workspaces? At Future Fitouts, our team of office interior design professionals are here to here to help. Whether you are looking for some small improvements in air quality or want to redesign your office with air quality in mind, get in touch with our team today on 1300 368 461.