Employees calling in sick impacts the overall productivity and performance of a business. If your business has a persistent rate of sick days no matter the weather, maybe it’s time to ask why. Here’s an overview of how maintaining your HVAC system regularly will help keep your employees at work.
Office Air Quality
Air quality at work is something most people may not even think about., but the air in the office actually carries allergens like dust and pollen, along with other pollutants. An HVAC system filters and ventilates air. Without proper maintenance, however, the HVAC system will not filter and ventilate the air as it should. Without proper ventilation and circulation, levels of carbon dioxide increase and can lead to symptoms like sweating, an elevated heart rate, tingling in the hands and feet, and headaches.
The office HVAC system should ventilate around 20 cubic feet per minute of outside air per person to decrease allergens and regulate carbon dioxide.
Chemicals in the Office
Image via Flickr by Cummings Properties
Allergens and carbon dioxide aren’t the only things that can impact air quality. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted by products commonly found in the office such as carpeting, upholstery, copy machines, and manufactured wood furniture. Smoking in the office also contributes to VOCs. Having the filters replaced in your office HVAC system regularly at intervals of every two to three months decreases the VOCs in the office.
Other practical ways to reduce VOCs in the office include using natural cleaning products and installing plants like palm trees, ferns, and Kimberly Queen ferns because they remove VOCs from the air. Be mindful about watering them though. Too much water can lead to mold.
Not Just Filters
Regularly changing HVAC filters is one part of system maintenance. But to truly keep your workers healthy and not out sick, schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment intermittently. The HVAC technician will perform a tuneup of the system. This involves tightening connections that might be loose and checking refrigerant levels on the air conditioner and oil or gas connections on the furnace. They’ll also measure voltage and current on motors and clean the evaporator and condenser coils to make the system run more efficiently.
Keep It Clean
Changing filters and keeping regular HVAC maintenance appointments will go a long way toward reducing the number of employees out sick at any one time. Small daily tasks like cleaning the HVAC vents along with office equipment will help eliminate the spread of colds and other illnesses. The same goes for cleaning around the office, including desks, carpets, light switches, sink handles, and cleaning out the office refrigerator. The HVAC system’s continued function will be bolstered by the support of a clean office.
Everyone gets sick once in a while and that’s why sick days exist. But if many people are sick often, it’s a sign to start looking at your HVAC system. Combined with awareness and a clean office, a well-maintained HVAC system will help keep business productivity where it needs to be.