Heating and Cooling, Human Resources, Safety

Workers Worldwide Worry About Office Air Quality

Nearly three out of four (72%) surveyed office workers express concern about their building’s indoor air quality (IAQ), according to a new report from Honeywell.

Titled “Workplace Air Quality: A Global Concern Emerges,” the report presents the findings of Honeywell’s second annual Healthy Buildings Survey, which recently queried 3,000 office workers in buildings with 500-plus workers in ASEAN, Germany, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The findings show that surveyed employees in all regions worry about the impact of poor air quality on their well-being and want more information from their employers. About two-thirds (62%) of those surveyed receive updates about IAQ only occasionally—or never—and just 15% receive real-time updates. More than six in 10 (62%) say they’re ready to leave their job if their employer doesn’t take steps to create a healthier indoor environment.

The report provides comparisons across markets and facility types, including office buildings, hospitals, airports, schools, and hotels. Highlights include:

  • An overwhelming majority (89%) of those surveyed agree that the quality of air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and well-being. Nearly all (98%) believe safe IAQ provides at least one health benefit: better overall physical health (62%); fewer allergies, less sneezing and coughing (60%); less exposure to airborne contaminants (57%); better overall mental health (53%); and improved productivity and problem-solving (43%).
  • Yet few respondents across any of the markets get regular updates on their building’s air quality. While almost a third (29%) of surveyed C-level executives receive frequent updates, only 13% of non-C-level workers are actively informed. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of lower-level workers receive updates rarely, never, or only sometimes at best.
  • Nearly all (90%) of surveyed workers consider it at least somewhat important to be kept informed of their building’s air quality. This includes 65% who consider it very or extremely important.
  • About two in five respondents (41%) can accurately identify all the factors that contribute to indoor air quality. More than a third (36%) do not know that CO2 level factors into IAQ, and 41% are unaware that humidity plays a part.

“These findings suggest that workers in every region are aware that indoor air quality can affect their
well-being and expect employers to take action—both to improve IAQ and keep them better informed,” said Doug Wright, president and CEO 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 dollar invested in upgrading workplace air quality, monitoring IAQ data, and communicating it to employees is a dollar strategically spent.”

The full report is available here.

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