Less than 20% of urban areas meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality standards... and in most cases, the quality of indoor air is two to five times more polluted than the air outside.
We don’t want to alarm you, but given that we spend 40 hours each week at our desks, it’s no wonder that 800,000 people die every year due to poor workplace air quality.
Some employers are starting to recognise the impact that poor air quality has on employee health, wellbeing, and productivity.
Here are some workplaces offering superior air quality, and a thing or two that other employers could learn from them:
Employee wellbeing has been at the heart of everything Ferrari has done since the 1990s. Dubbed Formula Uomo (which translates to ‘Formula Man’), its philosophy prioritises a happy and healthy workforce above all else.
The Formula Uomo philosophy is plain to see at the company’s production facilities in Maranello, Italy.
As well as heavily investing in advanced technology, eco-materials, and ergonomic design, Ferrari has also recognised the role that nature can play in providing clean air to its workforce.
The Maranello facilities are home to approximately 19 trees and plants for each and every employee. In total, 25,000 plants are dotted around the campus. This includes two large indoor gardens in the body shop, as well as outdoor walkways that help to maximise air quality and maintain air flow throughout the facilities.
[Video embed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEHVObPRgh8 - start from 8:52]
We often hear about the negative consequences of technology, from resource depletion, to electronic waste, to air and water pollution. Yet, EDGE Olympic shows how technology can be a force for good in the fight for cleaner air.
This office building, designed by tech-focused property developer EDGE, has been designed from the ground up to offer a space that is both more environmentally-friendly and more connected than anywhere else. More than 15,000 sensors are dotted around the building to measure temperature, humidity, light intensity, noise levels and more. These metrics are then analysed and optimised to provide occupants with high levels of clean air.
Features include connected light fixtures that only turn on when an occupant is in their workspace, electric chargers to encourage the use of electric vehicles, and enough solar panels to power the entire building.
These features, and many more, have been implemented at EDGE Olympic with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of the occupants and individuals that occupy it.
Microsoft may be known for its innovation, but the tech giant turned to biotechnology company U-earth to improve the air around its Milan headquarters.
While open windows or additional vents fail to deal with 98% of contaminants, U-earth’s AIRcel bioreactors provide the biophysical conditions required to capture and remove these particularly stubborn contaminants.
AIRcel bioreactors are dotted around Microsoft House, where they capture particulate matter, fine dust, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, and hydrocarbons. The system is also able to catch viruses and bacteria, moulds, mites, gases, and airborne oils and waxes. Helping to protect workers from any and all hidden dangers.
Data on air quality and improvements made are presented around the office via monitoring dashboards, helping employees to keep track of the benefits.
[Video embed - https://vimeo.com/353079701]
These businesses have recognised the benefits of clean workplace air for both employee and employer. Now it's your turn.
Whether it’s buying yourself a desk plant, or keeping track of your own conditions through AERIC’s smart monitor, you can start making small changes today that could do you a world of good tomorrow.