Buying an air purifier for your office
When we come into the office every day, the quality of the air we breathe indoors is unlikely to come to mind. Frankly, it shouldn’t be a concern: we should always feel safe at work, and that includes breathing safe and clean air in every room of our work spaces. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and many employees breathe air containing pollution particles. Where is this air pollution coming from and what can we do about it? Can an air purifier at work help? Read on to learn more.
The sources of workplace air pollution and their impact on our health
The sources of workplace air pollution
Unlike outdoor air pollution which may present as smog and even has a distinct smell, indoor air pollution at work is often undetectable. It is not uncommon for employees to experience negative health effects like allergies, headaches and drowsiness in certain rooms or in the whole building at work and not know why.
Although indoor air quality varies depending upon the season and the floor level on which the office is located, many office buildings keep their windows shut year-round, and the lack of ventilation causes stale air to accumulate. This is certainly cause for concern as, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 7 million people die prematurely every year as a result of ambient and indoor air pollution1.
Indoor air is often 5 to 7 times more polluted than outdoor air, but where are these pollutants coming from in an office building? Indoor air pollution in the workplace is a mixture of:
- Pollutants coming in from the air outdoors
- Often caused by road traffic which enters the office by aerating and ventilation
- Responsible for fine particle pollution and carbon dioxide emissions in our air
- Pollutants being created indoors
- Chemical pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air by new or renovated buildings, furniture, and renovation materials like paints, solvents, glues, office cleaning products (such as bleach), air fresheners, workplace disinfectants, and products used for maintenance
- Biological pollutants like bacteria, viruses, and toxins brought in by employees and are then released into the air
- Office equipment like printers, copiers, computers and even furniture like chairs and couches
- Dust, pollen, cigarette smoke (and its odours), and fine and ultrafine particles that may be brought indoors on employees’ clothes, hair, and then settle in the office
Many of these substances above are either indoor air pollutants themselves or emit chemical pollutants like VOCs, releasing particles that may pose health problems for those working in an office.
Health problems associated with indoor pollution at work
Employees can experience a variety of symptoms as a result of breathing polluted air at work, both short-term and long-term. These symptoms usually start upon entering the workplace and cease upon leaving.
- Short-term: headaches at work, sneezing, coughing, respiratory difficulties like shortness of breath or trouble breathing, eye irritation, troubles with cognition, dizziness, and aggravation of other health conditions (especially those of the lungs and heart)
- Long-term: increased risk of developing asthma, other respiratory diseases like COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease2
Exposure to indoor air pollution in the short- and long-term can lead to a decrease in work productivity; an increase in fatigue, anxiety, and depression; and difficulty focusing and concentrating. An American study on employees in an indoor pear packing factory has linked exposure to air pollution (PM2.5 specifically) with a decrease in productivity3.
Furthermore, any of these symptoms can result in employees needing to take sick leave due to illness, leading to financial consequences for both the employee and the employer. An air purifier can help.
The benefits of installing an air purifier in the workplace
Improving and protecting the health of employees is paramount and should be prioritised. By installing an air purifier at work and removing pollutant particles from the air, sensitive employees (particularly those who suffer from respiratory/heart diseases like asthma and allergies to dust at work or in their daily lives) will be less likely to suffer from aggravation of their conditions.
Overall office productivity and performance is also likely to improve with cleaner breathing air, even amongst those who do not suffer from pre-existing conditions. A study by ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) found that the gains in productivity are 60 times greater than the cost of the work required to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). Furthermore, the presence of a purifier in the workplace can boost morale: when an employer takes pride in the health and well-being of their employees, employees take pride in their work, especially during pandemics like COVID-19 when people feel uneasy about physical attendance in the office.
That said, in a post-COVID-19 world, air purifiers with HEPA filters make it possible to reduce bacterial and viral transmission and propagation between employees in the office and potential visitors to the workplace. Rates of airborne particle contamination decline with the presence of an air purifier containing a HEPA filter.
Choose Eoleaf for your professional air purification needs
Before you choose your air purifier, however, there are multiple factors to consider:
- The size of your office space (keeping in mind the configuration of the office and open-plan office spaces)
- Purified air flow (CADR)
- The ease of moving the device and the amount of space it occupies in the office (does it come equipped with wheels?)
- Filter type (high efficiency, HEPA-certified, activated carbon, etc.)
- Budget (price can vary greatly depending upon its features, performance, and capacities; the cost of maintenance and frequency of filter changes also plays into your budget)
- Energy consumption
- Noise level (ensure that your office air purifier will not impact employees especially in conference or meeting rooms; a silent air purifier or one that has a negligible noise level would be ideal for open-plan offices)
Here at Eoleaf, we have a model of air purifier specifically designed for professional purposes and the office: our AEROPRO 150. Sleek in design and powerful in its capabilities, it uses 8 different filtration technologies, including HEPA-certified and activated carbon filters, to ensure that the air in your professional space is optimally purified. Our convenient remote control provides real-time data on the state of your air, and when in Automatic Mode, the device automatically reacts to any new pollutants that enter your space.
1 World Health Organization. (2014, March 25). 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news/item/25-03-2014-7-million-premature-deaths-annually-linked-to-air-pollution
2 The health effects of Air Pollution. Government of Quebec / Gouvernement du Québec. (2022, November 30). https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/advice-and-prevention/health-and-environment/the-health-effects-of-air-pollution
3 Chang, T., Zivin, J. S., Gross, T., & Neidell, M. (2016). Particulate pollution and the productivity of Pear Packers. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8(3), 141–169. https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w19944/w19944.pdf