Recently companies have begun focusing more on creating a healthy and engaging office environment to make employees feel more comfortable about returning to the office. While many factors contribute to a positive work environment, indoor air quality is often an overlooked aspect. The air quality within office spaces can significantly impact employee productivity, focus, and overall job satisfaction.
Honeywell's third annual Healthy Buildings Survey reveals the significant influence of air quality inside buildings on the well-being of occupants and the environment. The report, based on a survey of 2,500 office workers in Germany, India, the Middle East, the UK, and the US, highlights that 43% of respondents expressed high levels of concern regarding indoor air quality (IAQ) in their workplaces. This data highlights the growing importance of providing healthy and well-ventilated environments in all types of workplaces, including coworking spaces.
In this blog post, we will explore the significance of indoor air quality and discuss why proactively addressing air quality concerns is crucial for fostering a healthier and more engaging work environment. In addition, we will present a successful example of Haos Community Space located in one of the most polluted cities in the world — Belgrade, Serbia.
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the impact of air pollution on health and well-being, individuals and organizations are taking steps to ensure clean and fresh air in their surroundings.
In a recent interview, we spoke with Blanka Šupe, the founder of Haos, a vibrant coworking space in Belgrade, Serbia. The interview shows the importance of monitoring indoor air quality and its positive impact on occupants.
— I was shocked by the significant air pollution in Serbia, especially in the winter when coal-fired heating is widespread. This experience influenced my decision to install air purifiers in my own home.
Motivated by the commitment to sustainability and a conscious community, I further installed indoor air quality monitors in Haos Community Space. With an increasing number of people joining the community, concerns were raised about the safety of the air they were breathing. The lack of knowledge regarding the air quality inside the building showed a need for a solution that would provide accurate and real-time data. Partnering with ATMO, we installed Atmocube air quality monitors in November of the previous year.
— Atmocube monitors played a crucial role in helping the Haos team make informed decisions about air quality. We were planning to buy air purifiers, but after installing the monitors, we noticed that the air quality in Haos is pretty good. It turned out that our building has an air purifying system. This discovery saved me several thousand dollars and brought a sense of relief and peace of mind to everyone in our space.
One of the intriguing findings from the air quality monitoring was that the indoor air quality inside Haos was significantly better than the ambient air outside. However, some people initially reported that in some parts of the coworking space, they felt more sleepy toward the afternoon. By monitoring the CO2 levels, we identified instances where occupants reported feeling drowsy or tired. This influenced us to investigate further and discover that specific ventilation systems were not functioning optimally. Once the issue was resolved, the improvement in air quality had an immediate positive impact on the occupants' well-being and productivity.
— The introduction of Atmocubes in Haos received positive feedback from the community. The sleek design and visible presence of the monitors sparked curiosity among the occupants, who appreciated the care and attention given to their well-being. The monitors not only assured them of good air quality but also created a sense of safety and peace of mind, especially for those who did not have air purifiers at home.
When we told everyone that we have air quality devices that regularly monitor the air quality and the fact that our building has an air purification system that we discovered — the fact that people can be worry-free about the air quality, — I think that put all their worries to rest, and people felt safe because not everyone has air purifiers at home. So they were happy they could breathe better air here.
— I can highlight one limitation that the monitors required a power connection, which restricted their placement. However, with careful planning, this limitation was easily overcome.
— It is important to address concerns shared by the occupants. Coworking spaces should strive to create an environment where people feel productive, inspired, and energized to work.
In Belgrade, where air quality is a significant issue, monitoring the air and investing in solutions that provide clean, fresh air should be a priority.
I think that for coworking space owners, it's important to worry about what the residents worry about. If air quality is a concern, you should figure out how to solve this or provide the information to the residents. If you can do something better for them to be more productive at work, you definitely should do that.
Also, innovative, high-tech, and visually appealing devices significantly add to the value of your coworking space, particularly for tech-savvy enthusiasts.
This is especially true for Haos. As a coworking space owner, you should reflect your residents' interests. So the advice is to listen to your target group, and if you can do something better for them and improve their experience, you should do that.
Let's dig into the air quality data collected from three Atmocubes that have been placed in different locations in Haos Community Space.
The results proved that the air quality in Haos Community Space is better than the outdoor air quality in the city center of Belgrade, Serbia.
Haos is located in the Stari Grad area of the city. According to data from Belgrade Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI), the average PM2.5 in the Stari Grad area during May was 67 µg/m3, but the data from Atmocubes within the coworking space shows the average indoor PM2.5 concentration never went above 6.5 µg/m3.
High particulate matter (PM) concentrations can cause productivity problems. These levels are lower in well-maintained spaces.
During the same time, CO2 levels were never above 750 ppm, which suggests the space is well-ventilated. This means that after the problem with the air purification system was fixed, people working in the co-working space never felt the drowsy effects of high CO2 levels on productivity.
A data sample from the first week of June (June 1 - June 7) shows that CO2 levels are higher on working days (Monday to Friday) when more people are present in the space and lower at the weekend when fewer people are present.
As can be seen from the above examination, installing air quality monitors in regions with high outdoor air pollution can solve two significant problems.
Firstly, it allows continuous monitoring of air quality to assess the efficiency of ventilation and filtration systems, ensuring indoor spaces are protected from outdoor pollution. This proactive approach helps maintain a healthier environment, especially in areas with pollution concerns. Monitoring CO2 levels becomes crucial for creating a comfortable and healthy atmosphere in places where numerous people gather, such as busy coworking spaces during events.
Secondly, it promotes psychological well-being by providing real-time data on air quality, alleviating concerns and providing assurance to individuals at offices or coworking spaces. This knowledge reduces their psychological burden and enhances their focus on work and daily activities.
Emphasizing the installation of air quality monitors addresses practical concerns and positively impacts mental and physical health, promoting a sense of security and productivity. Integrating air quality monitors is an innovative and effective solution for healthier living and working spaces.