For many of us, our weekly routine is the same – get up Monday morning, go to the office, come home in the evening, go to sleep, then rinse and repeat until Friday. Full-time workers spend about 2,080 hours (or 86 full 24-hour days) a year at the office. That’s an awful lot of time! When you are committing that much time to a company, you want the environment your work in to be pleasant, right?
Unfortunately, for some of us our offices are less than comfortable. We’ve spent some time in the past few posts discussing spaces that don’t want to stay cool and how to correct the problem, but that is only one issue that can crop up at work. Another common problem is related to air quality. Poor air quality in the workplace can cause more trouble than you might imagine. When the air is not-so-fresh, employees can end up being less productive due to feelings of illness.
So how can you tell that the air in your workspace isn’t up to snuff? Watch out for these common signs:
You Just Can’t Seem to Wake Up
You hopped out of bed filled with energy, got in the car, and headed to the office. You put your stuff down, grab a cup of coffee, head back to your desk and then BAM! You hit it – a wall of fatigue. No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to shake this foggy feeling that leaves you feeling sleepy and exhausted. You do your work the best you can, but concentration is hard to come by. What’s going on?
Believe it or not, that feeling of fatigue could come from poor air quality. If your office doesn’t have proper ventilation, or if there is a buildup of dust and allergens in the HVAC system, it’s possible that you feel miserable because of indoor air pollutants. If you have these symptoms, try getting out of the office for a walk. Investing in a portable air purifier may not be a bad idea either.
By Quitting Time, You Have a Major Headache
Ever had quitting time roll around only to discover you have a massive headache? You just can’t seem to shake it…that is, until you leave the building. Then it suddenly clears up without issue. What’s up with that?
Headaches are another common sign of indoor air pollution problems. Depending on the types of cleaning products that maintenance uses in your building, there is a chance that the level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) floating around is high. Combine that with inadequate ventilation and a dirty HVAC system, and you are on the road to headache city! Again, this is an issue that can be helped by getting out of the office during the day, or even opening a window near your desk if possible.
You Are Battling Sinus Symptoms That Appear Out of Nowhere
At home, you never have a sniffle, but at the office, you might as well hold stock in Kleenex because you use so many tissues. Not only that, but you experience sinus pressure every day from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Is it possible that you are allergic to your job?
Well, sort of…more likely you are having a reaction related to poor air quality, especially if the reaction happens year-round. If you can rule out other allergy sources (a co-worker’s perfume, for example), then it is an indication that something may be up with the office. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, it may be time to have a chat with management to inquire about checking the HVAC system. Chances are if there’s an air quality issue more than one person has complained, so you likely won’t be the first to bring this up in a meeting.
Sometimes You Feel Nauseous for No Reason
In the middle of the day, do you find yourself feeling a little green around the gills? Of course, there are a number of minor illnesses that cause nausea, but if you have eliminated those as a possibility and find that the same thing happens every day that you are in the office, guess what? Poor air quality could be a possible cause!
If you are getting ventilation into your office via a window and have invested in an air purifier but still have issues, this may be another chance to bring up the problem to management and the building’s facilities manager. Again, if it is happening to you and the cause is air pollution, you are likely not alone, so don’t be afraid to bring it up.
The Office Smells Horrible
If your office smells musty, the air is damp, and you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, there is a pretty good chance that mold is the problem. This is an air pollutant that you don’t want to mess around with, as it can cause some long-term health issues depending on the type of mold infestation you are dealing with. Handling this problem is not optional – if your management doesn’t want to check for mold issues, see if you can find a way to telecommute or provide as much ventilation for your personal working space as possible.
Experiencing poor air quality in a commercial space? We can help! Call (205) 871-8111 to schedule an air quality check today!