- Richard M. Gatto
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Office Workers Can Breathe Easier
As employers reestablish hybrid and in-person work models, workers want to return to offices with systems that can mitigate the risk of COVID-19’s spread.
Charter contributor Michelle Ping recently wrote that “some 82% of office workers report being concerned about indoor air quality, according to a recent study by Honeywell.” And so, premium HVAC systems and other technologies that clean and monitor the air supply are major selling points for the modern workplace. U.S. News and World Report contributor Teresa Bitler writes that “HVAC systems can improve the air by drawing it through filters that remove dust, particles, spores, bacteria, and viruses, says Rick Bohdel with Ductz.”
This technology’s importance to today’s workforce is apparent in recent office real estate trends. According to REjournals writer Dan Rafter, Honeywell Building Technologies President and CEO Doug Wright said in a written statement that “in a competitive labor market, demonstrating an effort to create a healthier work environment can be an advantage in attracting and retaining employees.” Developers are taking heed and building properties that ensure clean air for their occupants. Peter Curry, a real estate practice partner with Farrell Fritz, told GlobeSt contributor Paul Bergeron that a “state-of-the-art air filtration system” is “front and center” when developing a desirable workplace.
And companies are already finding that an advanced HVAC system pays off. For example, “since moving to its new office a year ago, Windsor Federal Savings, a Connecticut-based bank, hasn’t had a single instance of COVID-19 transmission through the workplace,” according to Ping. This feat is attributable—at least in part–to the company’s efforts to improve its office HVAC system. Ping writes that “ventilation and air cleaning measures like those adopted by Windsor were found to reduce the concentration of Covid aerosol particles by 80-90%.”
In addition to upgraded HVAC systems, several other innovations in air-quality control help minimize people’s chances of contracting COVID-19 at work. For instance, real-time sensors let workers know how clean their air supply is. According to Brit Morse, associate editor at INC., “They not only alert you about any contaminants via software on your computer or phone, but automatically adjust themselves to optimize air quality.” Also, bipolar ionization technology improves environments where pollution has depleted the ions which help clean air. Morse writes that this technology “can combat contaminants and break down gaseous elements, essentially sanitizing the air.”