Air Quality at the Office

The majority of Americans spend most of their days in an office setting for their jobs without even thinking about air quality at the office.  The truth is, because we spend so much time at the office, there are certain health problems that can come up due to poor air quality.  While you are spending at least 40 hours per week in your cubicle or in a shared office performing your daily tasks, you may be dealing with air that isn’t as clean as it could be.  Recent research out of Finland which looked at the health of office workers found that the indoor air quality in an office can have a huge impact on your health, causing everything from burning, itchy eyes, a stuffy, irritated and runny nose and even extreme fatigue.  It’s a real health problem that you may not even realize was being caused by work.


So, what causes poor indoor air quality in the office?  Poor ventilation is typically the main issue, as many offices now keep windows sealed shut in order to conserve energy.  While this does help lower those electricity bills, it also helps seal in airborne pollutants and other contaminants in the building, which forces individuals to breathe them in more often.  If you work in an office, then this should certainly concern you, as spending 40 hours or more a week in poor air quality at the office isn’t good for your health.  Being exposed to irritants in the air each day slowly chips away at your good health and well being, so much so that many individuals who suffer from allergy-like symptoms find that the symptoms are much worse during the day when they are in the office.


If you find that you are suffering due to the poor air quality at the office, there are some steps that can be taken to improve your situation.  If you’ve kept a health log, take it to your human resources department and discuss your concerns.  You may be surprised by their reaction, as office workers often don’t even realize that they are dealing with poor air quality.  A good company will take steps to ensure that employees are as healthy and comfortable as possible while they are at the office.  Some common steps that offices can easily take to improve the air quality in the office include the following:


  • Maintaining and enforcing a strict policy that prohibits smoking within 100 feet of the building.
  • Ensuring that there is adequate food storage on site to keep employee lunches and shared snacks from stinking up the office.
  • Making sure that garbage’s are emptied each day into larger cans that are kept outside of the office.
  • Taking care of water spills quickly to avoid problems with mold down the road.