Have you ever heard the terms “sick workplace” or “sick building syndrome”? In the past couple of decades, these phrases have been used by many employees to describe their working atmospheres.
Contrary to what you might automatically assume, they don’t refer to offices in which a lot of workers are coughing or sneezing because of the common cold or influenza. What they actually describe is a commercial building that is harboring toxic particles, such as black mold, unacceptable amounts of dust, pollen, rodent droppings, and other unwanted items.
The notion of the “sick building” has even spurred many scientific studies, including one from 1992 from the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In this study, it was reported that, at the time, there were around 1.2 million commercial buildings that could be considered “sick” because of inadequate ventilation, inappropriate lighting, the release of volatile organic compounds, and more.
As was noted in the Pittsburgh study, poor indoor air quality has been a noted cause of sick workplaces/buildings. That is one of the reasons it’s so critical for employers to invest in regular duct cleaning, among other preventative maintenance on their HVAC systems.
Being proactive about duct cleaning at least once (preferably twice) a year can help save companies both dollars and reputations. After all, as soon as one worker makes a formal complaint, it’s likely that others will hear about that complaint… and possibly the media. Besides, it’s simply good business practice to be concerned about the health and wellbeing of all personnel.
If you’re serious about being a leader in your industry, it’s time to make sure you’re treating the individuals on your team with a high degree of concern. And that starts will ensuring their working environments are the best they can be.