Investing in clean air technology for the workplace may appear to be a luxury addition, but the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, its impact on employee productivity and sickness is so significant that it will actually save your company money. The evidence is unambiguous and research shows that a widespread improvement in indoor air quality for the workplace has the potential to save entire industries millions of pounds every single year.
Let’s begin with employee productivity. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been reporting on the adverse affects poor indoor air has on employees and businesses for over 30 years, and their latest statistics portray that improving air quality can provide companies with an average employee productivity increase of 16%. However, this estimated figure has continued to rise as research has developed and is actually somewhat conservative in comparison to some alternative and equally credible findings.
Standard office air makes you dumber.
Take the research by Dr Joseph Allen and colleagues at the prestigious University of Harvard that, put simply, demonstrated how standard office air makes workers significantly dumber. The researched saw various working professionals including managers, architects, designers, programmers and marketing professionals carrying out their typical working activities with no idea that the air conditions were being altered. They worked in 3 different conditions; standard office air, clean air and extra clean air and their mental performance in tasks was studied. Incredibly, their performance was on average 61% better in the clean air conditions and 101% better in the extra clean air conditions compared to in standard office air. These results clearly demonstrate the substantial impact air quality has on employee productivity and are just one example from a breadth of existing research.
A series of studies by Matthew Neidell and colleagues has demonstrated decreased productivity in workers making phone calls and packing fruit as a result of polluted air. Incredibly, the researchers calculated that across the research period (1999-2008) in the fruit packing factories, improvements in air quality saved the US manufacturing industry a whopping $20billion a year in productivity. They stated that gains would have been felt across the entirety of the US economy, demonstrating the astronomical capabilities of clean indoor air.
Employee absenteeism as a result of sickness symptoms related to bad quality air is believed to cost UK employers tens of billions of pounds every year. Statistics show that the average UK employee costs their employer £600 per year in sick pay, however this figure only considers the direct and obvious costs such as wages, administrative and personnel costs. It doesn’t include the hidden, indirect costs such as missed deadlines and reduced company productivity, and is therefore substantially higher in reality.
In addition to absenteeism due to common illnesses such as colds and flu, approximately 50% of the UK’s population suffer from allergies and a survey by the Met Office found that hay fever alone costs UK businesses 29 million working days every year (11 days per sufferer each year). When you also consider the drastic reduction in productivity that allergy related symptoms cause within the workplace, they become even more of a hindrance to businesses.
The most efficient way to clean the air in your workplace is through advanced clean air technology and only one company are producing patented technology that is able to catch and neutralise all air pollutants including virus and bacteria that leads to employee sickness. And we are delighted to have become an official ambassador for Radic8 – the highest certified clean air technology in the world. Unlike the competition – who almost entirely rely on HEPA filtration technology, Radic8’s innovative, patented Viruskiller technology is able to perform complete sterilisation, boosting employee productivity and reducing sick days by more than 50%.
1. Allen, J.G., MacNaughton, P., Satish, U., Santanam, S., Vallarino, J., & Spengler, J.D. (2016). Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers: A Controlled Exposure Study of Green and Conventional Office Environments. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(6), p.805.
2. Chang, T., Graff Zivin, J., Gross, T., Neidell, M. (2016). Particulate pollution and the productivity of pear packers. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 8:3, p141–169.
3. Chang, T., Graff Zivin, J., Gross, T., Neidell, M. (2016). The Effect of Pollution on Office Workers: Evidence from Call Centers in China. NBER Working Paper No.No. 22328, 2016-06.
4. Graff Zivin, J. & Neidell, M. (2012) The impact of pollution on worker productivity. American Economic Review 102:7, p3652–3673.