Your office has the latest technology on its desks, the decor is eye-catching, the facilities are state-of-the-art, and the policies allow flexibility and openness.
But despite a great work atmosphere and the most ergonomically designed set up, how often have you felt lethargic or even unwell at work? And how often has that feeling contributed to your wanting to quit?
Bear in mind, it’s a great job with good career progression prospects, and some of the most talented people in the country work with you. The pay isn’t bad either.
You decide to push yourself and grudgingly endure the drowsiness, the headaches, nausea, and at times sickness.
But you’re often left wondering: Why does my job make me feel so sick? Did I make a wrong career choice? Did I bite the bait simply for money? Am I not good enough for this job?
Relax! The problem isn’t with you, and it isn’t your career choice either. The most likely culprit of your Monday fever is the air you’re breathing inside your office. Seriously?
Read on to find out!
You Are What You Breathe
According to a WELLography report, human beings breathe over 15,000 liters of air every day. In fact, our daily consumption of air is about 4 times more than our daily consumption of food and liquids, combined!
We don’t realize this or even get the slightest measure of it because air is invisible and normally odorless. If we only knew and took this fact more seriously we’d spend a lot more time focusing our attention on what we breathe.
There are countless pieces of information and advice on the healthiest foods and liquids that you should consume, but there’s very little information in contrast on the healthiest air that you should breathe.
Most people spend a majority of their time inside their homes, office spaces, malls, schools or public transports. These are essentially closed spaces that usually do not have good air ventilation or air circulation systems.
So, if our daily consumption is four times more by breathing than by eating and drinking combined, then the opportunity to ingest pathogens and pollutants from the air we’re exposed to in these closed spaces is far greater than we can imagine.
Sick Building Syndrome
In an enclosed environment, such as an office space,you’re exposed to a multitude of pollutants that you’re probably not even aware of.
Depending on the location of the air intake vents, windows and other openings in your building, you could be breathing in outdoor contaminants from sources such as vehicular combustion, building exhausts, and plumbing vents.
Then there are indoor contaminants such as VOCs, carbon dioxide emitted by the people in your building, and a plethora of viruses and bacteria floating in the air.
When an unhealthy mix of these contaminants makes its way into your respiratory system, it results in the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), a term used to describe a situation where the occupants of a building experience health-related discomfort when they spend some time inside the building.
Symptoms of SBS may range from mild headaches, respiratory irritation, drowsiness, and fatigue to severe nausea, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations.
Depending on the contaminants you’ve been exposed to while you were in the building, you may require a reasonable amount of recovery time after you leave the building.
You are vulnerable to SBS in crowded places like malls, hospitals, and schools, or even a fairly comfortable, less-crowded place like an air-conditioned office.
What’s more, the presence of an artificial air purifier in your building may not improve its air quality.
How to Improve the Quality of Indoor Air
In our previous blog post on VOCs, we looked at a few ways in which you can get rid of contaminants, in particular, VOCs, from your indoor air. But do those same methods apply to every type of indoor air pollutant?
Over the last few years, we’ve worked with a number of clients to help them improve the quality of their indoor air.
While we’ve found that good ventilation and circulation systems help lower the levels of pollutants in indoor air, a lot depends on where you’re located (city or outskirts) and to what extent your workers are exposed to indoor air contaminants.
Artificial air purifiers and filters are amongst the most unreliable and they’re an absolute waste in an industrial setting.
On the other hand, natural air purifiers, like green walls, create a win-win situation for the building’s inhabitants and the plants.
The right types of plants rooted neatly in rows on a self-sustaining green wall work not just to lower, but gradually eliminate and thereafter prevent the buildup of indoor air pollutants.
Achieving the goal of clean, healthy air in your office spaces is possible only through a sustainable and systematic approach. Importantly, it requires a genuine interest in ensuring that employees are offered the best environment to work in.
If you believe that you’re a victim of SBS in your office, ask your supervisor to relay our blog post to your management team today.
Demandgreenwallson every floor of your office. You’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll look forward to arriving at work.