2022 is upon us and for many that means a return to a physical office. Whether you’ve been out since the beginning of the pandemic or just had a few weeks off for the holidays, the safety of indoor spaces is likely on your mind. Despite COVID’s seemingly lessening effects, the Omicron variant is more contagious than previous coronavirus strains, meaning it’s even more critical that businesses do all they can to ensure a healthy work environment for their employees. Indeed, there are many other kinds of contaminants (besides viruses) that make certain measures (like air quality testing and other precautions) a necessary responsibility of companies operating out of a physical building. Here are a few tips to help protect your employees’ health in an office setting even if — when — a pandemic isn’t raging:
Schedule Air Quality Testing
Pollutants are everywhere and include germs and other biological contaminants, as well as any natural or manmade substances that adversely impact the environment and those living (and/or working) within it. In fact, some of the most deadly pollutants exist in the air. Both invisible and odorless, these pollutants are tiny, capable of penetrating the lungs (or other bodily systems) and causing disease. Thus, it’s important that air quality testing is routine and ongoing within a workplace. Depending on the size of the office, companies should invest in either commercial or consumer air quality testing monitors that continuously measure the amount of certain pollutants. There are many types of air quality testing tools, capable of testing for any number of contaminants, including but not limited to carbon monoxide, radon, smoke and more.
Install Proper Ventilation
Of course, securing positive air quality testing results depends on proper ventilation. In plainest terms, ventilation is the purposeful transfer of outside air into a space. The delivery of fresh air lessens the concentration of indoor air pollutants, improving the overall quality of the interior air supply. Ideally, a good HVAC system should be installed during a building’s construction, but there are additional ways to enhance ventilation after occupancy, as well, such as regularly replacing and/or using HEPA filters; adjusting dampers so that more air is moved through heavily populated rooms; constantly running fans (either individual units or those incorporated within then HVAC system itself); and opening doors and windows when possible.
Hire a Cleaner
Of course, routine cleaning is paramount, as well. A dedicated cleaning person (or cleaning service) ensures that offices are regularly sanitized and as free of germs as possible.
Think about a Mask Mandate
You can also consider asking employees and visitors coming into your office to wear a mask. The CDC recommends using masks to help control the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19, and it’s likely that many people will continue wearing masks while in public even after the pandemic ends.
Partner with a Professional Interior Design Team
Finally, there are many ways to enhance the safety of an office with simple interior design choices. Partnering with a professional interior design firm like Key Interiors makes it easy for you to improve your office’s air quality and better safeguard your employee’s health. With professional direction, you can choose low-VOC paints and fabrics; hypoallergenic furnishings; anti-microbial fixtures; and more. Our designers at Key Interiors, for instance, have decades of experience helping clients use design features that maximize both the utility, as well as the safety, of their spaces. Please contact us to learn more about using interior design elements not only to boost employee productivity and morale, but to protect the well-being of everyone entering your company’s doors.