Why employers should update employees on indoor air quality

According to a recent survey from Honeywell, 72 per cent of workers are worried about the effects of poor air quality on their wellbeing, however many feel that they don’t receive enough information from their employers.

The survey asked 3,000 office workers in buildings with 500-plus workers in Southeast Asia, Germany, India, the Middle East, the UK, and the United States about their perceptions of health and safety in their workplaces.

The findings reveal that employees across all regions worry about the impact of poor air quality on their wellbeing and want more information from their employers. Just over three-fifths (62 per cent) of those surveyed receive updates about indoor air quality (IAQ) only occasionally – or never. Just 15 per cent receive real-time updates. And around three-fifths (62 per cent) say they’re ready to leave their job if their employer doesn’t take steps to create a healthier indoor environment.

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Health Benefits

An overwhelming majority (89 per cent) of those surveyed agree that the quality of air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. Nearly all (98 per cent) believe safe IAQ provides at least one health benefit: better overall physical health (62 per cent); fewer allergies, less sneezing and coughing (60 per cent); less exposure to airborne contaminants (57 per cent); better overall mental health (53 per cent); and improved productivity and problem-solving (43 per cent).


But few respondents across any of the markets receive regular updates on their workplace building’s air quality. While almost a third (29 per cent) of surveyed C-suite executives receive frequent updates, only 13 per cent of non-C-level workers are actively informed. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of lower-level workers receive updates rarely, never, or only sometimes.

This compares to 90 per cent of surveyed workers who consider it at least somewhat important to be kept informed of their building’s air quality – 65 per cent consider it very or extremely important.

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Identifying Factors

In regard to workers’ knowledge on the issue, about two in five respondents (41 per cent) can accurately identify all the factors that contribute to indoor air quality. More than a third (36 per cent) do not know that CO2 level factors into IAQ, and 41 per cent are unaware that humidity plays a part.

Doug Wright, president and chief executive of Honeywell Building Technologies, explains: ‘These findings suggest that workers in every region are aware that indoor air quality can affect their wellbeing and expect employers to take action – both to improve IAQ and keep them better informed. In a competitive labour market, demonstrating an effort to create a healthier work environment can be an advantage in attracting and retaining employees.’

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Read more about Air Quality in our recent blog post: Are You Being Suffocated By Your Workplace?


This article is based on a research piece 'Why office workers need more updates on indoor air quality’, authored by Andrew Sansom, editorial director of SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange, for WORKTECH Academy. Workplace Futures Group is a Corporate Member of the Academy, which is a global online platform and membership organisation for the future of work and workplace design.