If there is little doubt that air quality has been undervalued in the wellness debate, then Covid-19 has provided the ultimate wake-up call. Whilst our understanding of the virus will continue to deepen, some key aspects have been confirmed – including its ability to remain airborne for longer periods and greater distances than originally thought. All of which means that there is an onus on employers to ensure they are providing fresh, well-filtered air as their staff begin to spend more time in the office.
Compared to lighting and temperature control, it’s not hard to see why air quality has rarely received its fair share of attention. But that is beginning to change – and not before time either. As Professor Cath Noakes at the University of Leeds recently remarked: “Air quality is invisible to us so we ignore it, yet it affects us day in day out, carrying respiratory diseases which affect the probability of you getting infections.” (1)
The wider realisation of this fact means that there is going to be a greater focus on improving ventilation and reducing the existence of pathogens – the organisms that cause diseases. Many nations already have safety at work laws that include air quality, as well as detailed codes of practice for employers. But with Covid-19 and related research adding to our knowledge of airborne threats, the smart money is on there being tougher regulations soon.
So for those employers wishing to stay one step ahead, now is the time to find out if your air filtration and management systems are truly fit for the future.