Controlling Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and monitoring capacity fluctuations, is central to ensuring employee health and safety in the office. Here’s what you can do to manage IAQ and employee safety.
Monitoring indoor air quality will have the greatest impact on employee safety
Being cognisant of environmental factors that affect health like levels of pollution, have always been important. However, with the onset of COVID19, it is at the forefront of the agenda and using environmental sensors to ensure a healthy workspace is imperative as we brace office returns.
Despite an evolving understanding, a multitude of researches undertaken since, have revealed elements that require attention for functioning amidst the pandemic.
One of thesestudies reflects the direct relationship of particulate matter with the risk of COVID19 infections. Exposure to a polluted environment from an accumulation of droplets, means a heightened chance of infection to the virus and to a multitude of other airborne bugs.
Take a look as to what you can do to monitor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in your workspace and secure employee and business well being.
Looking out for environmental indicators
Procedures and benchmarks for ventilation, air filtration and HVAC systems have been complicated by the pandemic. While businesses may have been focused on removing odours and keeping a relatively low level of pollutants in the past, this can no longer suffice. Adjusting parameters like temperature and humidity requires real time calculation and data.
IAQ depends on what’s going on outside the building as much as what’s going on inside. To optimise ventilation and filtration, you need to know what’s coming in from outside. As more people return to the office, measuring the health of office buildings will become critical to ensure IAQ levels do not exceed limits that would increase the likelihood of viruses spreading.
Current recommended benchmarks for IAQ currently stand at:
Businesses need to do more to maintain employee safety within indoor spaces
In our recent survey of over 1000+ respondents, we asked what factors had the greatest impact on employee health and safety in the office and 50% cited monitoring indoor air quality is most important to them.
Two thirds of respondents stated their company currently monitors temperature levels, with half measuring humidity levels. However, 60% of those who responded say their company does not monitor CO2 levels. This is highly concerning as research has indicated a direct link between increased occupancy and CO2 levels can lead to greater transmission of viruses.
Gathering air quality data with sensor technology
Environmental sensors gather data about the air quality in buildings which can be used to identify trends and help ensure these benchmarks are continuously being met. Based on the reports generated, HR and Facilities Management Teams can accordingly adjust HVAC systems to suit their workspace needs.
The sensors can detect humidity, carbon emissions, temperature, and particulate matter. With accurate measurements of when the air quality drops below these set benchmarks, management can adjust the air flow to circulate fresh air as needed.
Controlling office capacity
As more people return to the office, controlling the capacity of workspaces will be another essential consideration to make in securing a safe work environment.
Technology like space occupancy software working in tandem with environmental sensors help alert decision makers when workspaces are over occupied, so they can make immediate decisions. Specific people counter sensors are designed to cater to this and can make calculation of footfall in certain workspaces, easily accessible.
The generated reports ensure HR and Facilities Teams are confident in their decisions and employees return to the office with their mind at ease.
Deploying sensors for operational support
Indoor air quality systems are invaluable for employee health beyond lessening the risk of viral transmissions. Sleepiness, cognitive ability and anxiety are all linked to unhealthy levels of CO2, which can be detected through these systems. As more people return to the office, higher levels of workspace occupancy will inevitably lead to higher levels of CO2.
Deploying environmental sensors is essential in monitoring and optimising the IAQ to safeguard the health and safety of employees. Enforcing air pollution standards in your office with the use of an indoor air quality analytics tools, can further help you carry out your duty to protect employees and ensure business continuity.
Desk and phone booth sensors are one prime examples. Triggered by motion and heat, and discreetly placed, the sensors relay accurate data on space utilisation that can support your day to day business operations. The utilisation reports can be used to aid cleaning staff in determining used spaces and ensuring a thorough yet selective cleaning routine.
But it goes even further. While cleaning staff may be able to meticulously wipe down offices, environmental sensors can fill in the gap on the invisible particles that need further inspection than with the naked eye.
A well thought out and data driven cleaning regiment incurs much less costs to a business than repetitive and unnecessary wipe downs which also have heavy environmental repercussions.
Leveraging cleaning and HVAC systems based on quantifiable and current needs minimises operational costs as workspaces tend to fill in and out irregularly in a hybrid work environment.
With pollution significantly more present indoors, businesses have to align their operations accordingly as the world now plans its gradual return to work.