UK offices need to start taking air purification seriously

Toxic or polluted air (especially indoors) is hard to detect which means this invisible danger can be easily missed. A study by the Health Effects Institute concluded that even the lowest levels of air pollution can lead to health-damaging consequences, underlining the need for direct action to improve air quality everywhere for everyone, starting with the places where most people spend their time outside of the home - offices.

According to Matt Stapley, Technical Director of Andrews Sykes, as the issue of air pollution gains more traction, it is strongly encouraged that offices and other workplaces take steps to address legitimate concerns over poor air quality. A two-year study by the medical journal The Lancet found that 800,000 people die every year due to poor air quality in their workplaces. In the winter months, especially, offices should have the most protective precautions against exposure to other pollutants that induce or aggravate repository illnesses.

Facilities managers must act quickly to prevent their staff from being harmed by bad-quality air. An unhealthy workforce hurts economies and societies. In the UK, the total financial costs of sickness absence and health-related productivity losses are estimated to be over £100bn annually to businesses. A report from Harvard University states that people in areas where there are pollutants and chemicals in the air work slower are less attentive and are less focused than those in settings with better air quality.

Whilst it is predicted that the UK will struggle to fill jobs in certain sectors due to a perceived lack of education, health problems caused by the air we breathe may also contribute to this shortfall. Managing occupational health is key to avoiding any unintended consequences. Air purification, for example, is one of the easiest first steps to take in terms of ensuring there are healthy working populations both now and in the future.

Committing a budget to hire resources that prevent people from being made ill by the air quality in offices can be coupled with placing greater emphasis on the issue itself. Studies show that 131 million working days are lost to sickness absence every year. Toxic air in most workplaces can be difficult to identify until there are physical side effects – and this is too late.

Hiring an air purification unit that removes 99.9 per cent of harmful chemicals and pollutants in the air is a good place to start. Andrews Sykes’ air purification units tackle the transmission of diseases, infections, fumes, and other toxins. First, air passes through a prefilter, a carbon filter, and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, trapping dirty particles inside.

With COVID-19 and seasonal flu still lingering, air purification can play a very important role in reducing the number of staff absences, particularly at this time of year when illnesses are naturally more prevalent. Companies must prioritise the well-being of their workers in offices, and air purification provides the benefits and peace of mind that your employees require and deserve.

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