It is widely considered that the working environment will not return to normal straight away, with the much talked about shift towards hybrid working or permanently working from home in some cases, is likely to become reality. Employers should not underestimate the fact that a percentage of their workforce will have genuine anxieties about being thrown back into the hustle and bustle of society, and make allowances for this.
According to Aon, over 80% of employers are looking to improve education and awareness on health-related issues, with the importance of employee wellbeing, accelerated by the pandemic, rightly making its way to the forefront of organisations thinking and KPI decisions.
The pandemic has caused many people to change their way of life, such as having children or pets making unscheduled appearances on zoom calls or adjusting to permanently working on your kitchen table and apologising for your poor Wi-Fi connection. As the world slowly starts to emerge from the restrictions put in place to combat the transmission of covid-19, some employees will begin to return to the workplace but for those who continue to work from home, new stresses have started to become the norm including environmental factors.
Recording air quality data is one way to monitor ventilation in spaces. As Covid-19 transmission is widely recognised to spread at a much lower rate outdoors, the main focus should be indoor air quality, looking at CO2 levels, temperature and relative humidity.
UK government guidance issued on 4th November 2020, primarily aimed at commercial offices but also applicable to home working, states:
Poorly ventilated buildings are particularly conducive to virus spread. Where possible, poorly ventilated spaces should be adapted to improve ventilation or, if that is not possible, they should not be used.
Studies undertaken in the last few years have found that higher levels of CO2 have a negative impact of productivity. The drive to reduce CO2 and relative humidity levels can be an additional benefit to employees and the organisation as a whole.
According to Dr. Stephanie Taylor - Infection Control Consultant at Harvard Medical School: There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that a mid-range air humidity has significant benefits for human health. The time has come for regulations on indoor air quality to include a humidity level of 40-60%RH.
What can iaconnects do to help with environmental monitoring in your home office?
Adding standalone and MQTT enabled air quality sensors to monitor CO2, temperature, humidity and much more, sending alerts when levels are increasing towards an unsafe level, is a simple but effective way to potentially reduce poor concentration and productivity levels. The added benefit of knowing that the lower the levels of CO2, the lower the transmission rate of covid-19 is something that may also put people at ease when working in their own home.
The most effective action to take when CO2, temperature and humidity levels are high in your workspace is to increase ventilation and bring as much fresh air into the space as possible. By opening windows and doors to increase airflow, you will see an almost immediate decrease in CO2 levels, and gradual decrease in temperature and humidity.
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