Pre-Coronavirus most of us would have thought this is a bizarre question but as we become accustomed to scrutinising everything around us in our “hands, face and space” framework. Lately, there has been a lot of news internationally focussed on air quality.
The WHO estimates that poor indoor air quality is responsible for 3.8 million premature deaths1 globally, with cross-contamination of airborne viruses and diseases 19 times more likely indoors than out2. The COVID-19 Delta strain which is largely characterised by aerosol transmission has also heightened awareness and sensitivity around this topic.
Countries and companies have had different responses. We’ve seen more legislation being proposed around air quality in various countries, companies are looking at different ways of working (working from home vs returning to the office) and we’ve seen more investment in Coronavirus solutions including air quality solutions.
From speaking to customers we have found that the motivation to put more hand sanitiser units into their buildings or increasing the frequency of their precautionary disinfection services has been easy conversations to have with their management teams. But although the need for air purification is noted, this has been a difficult conversation to have with internal decision-makers.
I would like to suggest that you consider air purification as an investment in your people and your business to improve indoor air quality, rather than a rental item on your balance sheet. To be clear, air purification isn’t just about purifying the air of viruses, you also need to remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air which can increase productivity.
Ask yourself the following questions when considering air purification;
How may COVID-19 positive cases have been reported at the office?
How many hours did I have to halt operations to disinfect the building?
How many people had to self isolate and how many people were booked off ill?
What impact has this absence had on your productivity?
Also, ask yourself; how many people have been off ill with headaches, allergy-related and chest-related conditions in the last year?
I’m sure that if you add up the opportunity cost of that lost productivity, the amount is rather frightening.
For the purposes of this blog, I would like to demonstrate the cost of investing in air purification in a very simple example but would like to encourage you to contact Initial if you would like one of our skilled Consultants to come and do a hygiene assessment for your business.
I have an open-plan office environment with 40 full-time colleagues and my office building is a single open-plan office with a breakroom. I currently have an average of 4 people off ill a month who take an average of 2 sick days each.
The proposed solution:
In this scenario, I would recommend a VIRUSKILLER™ unit for the open-plan office and one for the breakroom. The reason for this recommendation is because VIRUSKILLER™ Air Purifiers kill 99.9999% of viruses in a single air pass, including Coronavirus3. Installing these units will improve your air quality and stop the airborne transmission of infectious illnesses, making indoor spaces safer.
With the VIRUSKILLER™ purifying the air of viruses, bacteria, pollen, formaldehyde, VOCs allergens, spores, mould, and particulate matter we would expect to see a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in productivity as clean air promotes mental and physical wellbeing.
For the two units mentioned, VIRUSKILLER™will provide you with clean air in the office at a cost of R5.93 per day per colleague. Our colleagues generally drink more coffee with that amount every day!
If you consider absenteeism reduction and productivity gains from clean air you have a tangible figure to prove the efficacy of your investment. If you then factor in the engagement value of your employees after experiencing the effects of clean air and the influence on your brand as a responsible employer the benefits of air purification outweighs the cost.
1. World Health Organization.”Household air pollution and health.” WHO. 2018. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact sheets/detail/household-air-pollution-and-health
3. When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.