In a survey of UK office workers, only one-quarter of respondents report having a place where they are able to read or see their building’s indoor air quality (IAQ) on their own, according to a report released by Honeywell.
“Workplace Air Quality: A Global Concern Emerges” presents the findings of Honeywell’s second annual Healthy Buildings Survey, which recently queried 3,000 workers in buildings with 500-plus workers in ASEAN, Germany, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A great majority (86%) of surveyed UK office workers report being more worried about IAQ given the rise of new COVID-19 variants, and their concerns are compounded by a lack of IAQ monitoring and information made available by employers. Half (50%) of those who are currently working inside a building consider it very or extremely important that they be kept informed, yet nearly two-thirds (62%) rarely or never receive IAQ updates.
Of the six surveyed regions, office workers in the United Kingdom are the least informed about their office building’s air quality, with 34% responding they know nothing. Further, more than half (51%) surveyed cannot correctly identify all the factors that contribute to IAQ, such as temperature, humidity and CO2. In addition, one-fifth (20%) of respondents don’t know how often their building’s IAQ is monitored, compared with a global average of 8%.
The findings suggest there is room for employers to improve both workplace IAQ and communication of IAQ metrics to their employees. Surprisingly, nearly half (48%) of surveyed UK workers say they will consider leaving their job if their employer is not taking steps to create a healthier indoor environment – which, however, is significantly lower than the global average of 62%.
Nearly all (94%) of surveyed UK office workers believe that the quality of air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and well-being, compared with 89% of global respondents. The top health benefits of safe IAQ they mention include:
Better overall physical health (68%)
Exposure to fewer airborne contaminants (66%)
Fewer allergic responses, resulting in less sneezing and coughing (65%)
Better overall mental health (55%)
Improved productivity and problem-solving (42%)
Additional findings of note include:
More than one quarter of UK respondents (28%) do not know that CO2 level factors into IAQ.
A substantial majority of UK office workers (86%) agree that indoor air is less healthy to breathe than outdoor air – which notably exceeds all five of the other regions as well as the 73% global average.
“These findings suggest that UK office workers are given neither adequate information about their building’s IAQ nor a proper education about the factors that contribute to indoor air quality in general,” said Doug Wright, president and chief executive of Honeywell Building Technologies. “In a competitive labor market, demonstrating an effort to create a healthier work environment can be an advantage in attracting and retaining employees. Every pound invested in upgrading workplace air quality, monitoring IAQ data and communicating it to employees is a pound strategically spent.”
Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings solutions integrate air quality, safety and security technologies with advanced analytics to help building owners improve the health of their buildings, operate more cleanly, comply with new guidelines, and help reassure occupants. Honeywell’s advanced IAQ portfolio can help improve occupant well-being, meet energy efficiency goals, and importantly, change the way occupants experience a building.
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