For those keen to make each employee up to $15,000 (£11k) more profitable or even just make savings throughout 2018, one of the best solutions is also the one you least expect: improving your workplace air quality.

Many decision makers assume the air employees are breathing within an office is safe and healthy, however in most cases, indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. ‘Unhealthy' air quality can have a profound impact on the health of a business reducing productivity, staff morale and the bottom line.

The impact

Increased absence rates - Unhealthy air can aggravate allergies, asthma, eczema, hives, and cause chronic flu-like symptoms including headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Poor air quality can also trigger common respiratory illnesses such as the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, and the common cold - all of which contributed to 137.7 million "sick days" in the UK, with many business owners accepting reduced productivity, bad morale and lower levels of customer satisfaction as inevitable during cold and flu epidemics. The World Green Building Council found that workplaces with healthy indoor air experience 35% less absences from short term sick leave.

Lower performance and productivity - Poor air quality has a direct impact on employee performance. In a joint study led by Harvard University, work environments that emphasised healthy indoor air quality saw an increase of productivity in the average employee and an estimated increased value of $15,500 (over £11k) per employee per year. Each person exhales about 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide each day and, while not necessarily a toxic gas, it has been proven to have a profound impact on one's ability to focus.  

Carbon dioxide is notorious for causing drowsiness, resulting in a 23% decline in productivity in some cases. Crowded conference rooms which are common place in UK businesses run the risk of easily reaching 1,000 ppm, which is considered high.

Lowered building costs - Having an intimate understanding of workplace air quality can also reduce excess building costs. Measures taken to create a healthy indoor environment, such as regulating office levels of airborne chemicals (VOCs), dust, carbon dioxide, temperature, and humidity, can often lead to more fiscally responsible uses of indoor appliances and HVAC systems. For example, a 47-79% HVAC energy savings could be achieved through improved ventilation.

The solution

As pressure mounts from The EU, NICE and COSHH for businesses to get air aware, there's a number of small changes, such as buying office plants, using VOC free cleaning products, or even opening windows regularly throughout the day, that can be made. In order to make real changes though, it's important to know the air quality issues that impact your particular office and monitor these over time. The easiest way to do this is with enterprise grade toxin trackers such as the Awair Omni which discreetly fixes to an interior wall and accurately monitors VOCs, dust, carbon dioxide, temperature, and humidity levels.  

With key organisations recently piloting Omni, useful solutions such as this can provide employees with actionable insights that are delivered to a dashboard that highlights issues and provides analytics.   

For businesses serious about profits and employee health, visit to arrange a consultation and free trial of the Omni