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Can Your Office Design Beat Allergies in the Workplace?

Posted on Aug 10, 2016, by Michael Eckert

Allergens make a significant contribution to air quality problems, and can have a significant impact on employee health and wellness in the workplace.

When allergy season comes around, you can have an office full of people sniffing and suffering – unless you take measures to reduce allergen levels in your office and improve indoor air quality through specific design choices.

But it’s not just a problem in spring, when pollen levels are high. Every day, common allergens make their way into your workplace: pet hair, perfume or other cosmetics, cleaning products, dust, and of course pollen.

Here are four things you can do when redesigning your workplace to help improve indoor air quality andcombat allergies.


1) Improve Ventilation

Good ventilation is essential for indoor air quality, and improved air circulation has the added benefit of helping the rest of your team feel more alert. However, in pollen season opening the windows to increase air circulation will let more allergens into your office, which will negatively impact hay fever sufferers.

Therefore, you should aim to get a HVAC unit installed – this will improve ventilation without needing to open any windows. Or if you’ve already got one installed, you should make sure your HVAC unit is regularly serviced, to prevent the build-up of allergens in the filters.

Additionally, using an air purifier will help to reduce the levels of allergens such as pollen and dust particles in the air.

2) Tidy Up

How messy is your desk? Piles of paperwork and other clutter will harbor dust and dirt particles that can irritate allergy symptoms. Keeping a tidy desk, and a tidy office in general, will reduce the levels of dust and allergens that are trapped on work surfaces or released into the air.

Additionally, tidying up your workspace will improve your ability to focus and process information, so clearing the piles of paperwork off your desk (and filing them away properly) will improve indoor air quality, and boost your productivity too.

3) Keep Things Clean

Your desk collects a surprising amount of dust and dirt, both of which negatively impact indoor air quality and make life worse for allergy sufferers.

A regular cleaning program is essential for reducing dust and allergen levels in your office. It’s important that your office cleaners regularly wipe down your work surfaces to remove dust and allergen particles from your desks.

4) Choose the Right Flooring

On a daily basis, all manner of animal and plant allergens are tracked into your office on people’s shoes.

If your office has hard flooring, these allergens are left floating around in the breathing zone because the particles bounce off the hard surface. Daily cleaning doesn’t help: sweeping and mopping often serves to just spread these allergens around, further into your office space. In contrast, carpet traps these allergens in the fibers, keeping them out of the breathing zone until they’re removed by vacuuming.

Studies show that the breathing zone over a hard floor can contain almost 9 times more breathable particulates than the air over a carpeted floor. So contrary to popular belief, carpet is the best option for improving indoor air quality and reducing the impact of allergens in your office.

The A-Z of Health & Wellness in Interior Design

Topics: Design, Health & Wellness

Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert