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Build Your Career Office Life

A Healthy Office Begins with Clean Air

Steve Levine, President and CEO of AtmosAir Solutions, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Executives spend most their time running their businesses, seeking new customers and trying to succeed in an often difficult marketplace. While the cost of healthcare is a huge problem, it's stunning how few CEOs are concerned with illness prevention, keeping employees healthy, reducing costly absenteeism and promoting overall wellness in the workplace.

There's no magic bullet that will keep employees healthy and avoid illness from the common cold, the dreaded flu or feared infections. But there is one less obvious way that you can attempt to keep workers healthy and at their desks: indoor air quality.

The air inside a new or existing office building can literally make you and your employees ill. Sick Office Syndrome is real and may be hurting your bottom line.

The average office building can be a breeding ground for mold, dust, odors, bacteria and airborne viruses due to poor air filtration and ventilation systems. That's why adding clean indoor air quality (IAQ) systems in the planning and design of new office buildings or retro-fitting existing ones is so important to creating a healthy workplace and helping attain office sustainability.

Sick Office Syndrome occurs when people feel ill inside an office building and immediately feel better when they go outdoors. And if that person has allergies or asthma, poor indoor air quality can make them feel even worse. In an office building, unhealthy air can cause illness among employees, which also leads to less productivity.

Modern building construction methods have demanded greater energy efficiency than ever before. While a more insulated building allows for better heating and cooling efficiency, it can degrade the quality of the air within a space causing sick building syndrome, causing occupants to feel symptoms such as, sore throats, itchy red eyes, sneezing, headaches, fatigue, etc.

So green, clean IAQ devices, installed into heating and air conditioning systems are no longer a luxury when planning a new office building or renovating an existing space. It's become key to creating a healthy, green indoor environment that makes physical and financial sense.

The initial cost of installing IAQ devices into buildings will be far less than the cost of sick days, lack of productivity and possible lawsuits companies might face when employees get ill from working in a building with stagnant air caused by mold, dust, odors, bacteria and airborne viruses that hibernate in offices and heating/air conditioning systems.

A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that preventable absenteeism due to poor air quality cost a company studied $480 per worker per year in lost productivity. The EPA estimates that US businesses lose $60-billion per year due to lost productivity. Employers and employees have also become very aware of the presence and effects of poor indoor air quality and are demanding a healthier indoor environment.

Most businesses that invest in IAQ products do so to improve their health, but what they also discover is that these devices also lower the costs of operating a building by reducing energy bills annually. By adding IAQ to your office, you'll not only provide a healthier workplace, but you will also reduce your building's energy demands and operational costs.

There's no silver bullet to insure your employees will never get sick. But you can certainly reduce the odds by creating a healthy workspace where the air is clean and rid of harmful contaminants. Clean indoor office air is a win-win for you, your employees, reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity and improving your bottom line.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.