Facilities Managers are being urged to consider the benefits of a reliable ventilation system, in light of the news that poor indoor air quality is contributing to the return of sick building syndrome (SBS).
SBS was prevalent in the 1990s, and describes a condition which afflicts building occupants with headaches and respiratory problems. However, a recent survey of over 1,000 UK office workers has revealed that the syndrome is making a comeback, with 86% of respondents saying they get headaches at work, and 91% claiming to suffer from lethargy.
Shockingly, 23% admitted to getting headaches daily, an issue which 80% believe is directly linked with poor indoor air quality.
Alan Macklin, Technical Director at Elta Group, comments: “The health implications of badly managed air quality in offices should concern facilities managers across the UK. It is alarming that in spite of advancements in building design, and a greater awareness of the importance of wellbeing at work, we are still talking about SBS.
“As structures have become better insulated, ventilation systems have to work harder to maintain an acceptable level of air quality. This makes it more significant than ever for facilities managers to opt for a system which is reliable and technologically equipped to circulate air effectively, in order to prevent the occurrence of SBS.”
Aside from the impact on employee health, poor indoor air quality is also associated with a reduction in productivity. Links with drowsiness and lethargy indicate that establishing an effective ventilation strategy is not only good for wellbeing, but for business too.
Nearly 90% of office workers surveyed said they find themselves nodding off or losing concentration in meetings, and this can largely be attributed to a lack of natural ventilation. Even in circumstances where there are windows, a reluctance to expose the office to outside temperatures means they often remain unopened.
Alan concludes: “The health and productivity of a workforce should be the top priority for facilities managers and business owners alike. Advancements in thermal management mean that the latest ventilation systems can provide high quality air, without adversely affecting the internal temperature.
“Opting for a ventilation system which is capable of managing air quality and temperature simultaneously ensures that facilities managers can combat the effects of sick building syndrome in an effective and efficient way.”
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