Even though you can't smoke in an office building anymore, air quality inside the average office is generally quite poor. Many offices lack adequate ventilation and the windows are often firmly and permanently closed. There are three key things that can be done to greatly improve the quality of air inside an office, which greatly reduces the risk of respiratory irritation and other health concerns.
Many types of upholstery and carpeting are treated with toxic substances that act as a flame retardant and as a stain-resistant coating. While the emissions are minimal, these substances can leak into the air while the furniture is new—potentially causing irritation to your respiratory system. When you need to replace items around the office, opt for furniture that has not been treated with these substances and you'll be breathing more clearly. Simply check with the manufacturer or supplier as to the production process. The use of vintage furniture is also a way around this when you need to replace office furniture. Any toxins used in the production of vintage furniture have long since dissipated.
Have a word with the company that supplies commercial cleaning services to your office. What types of cleaning products do they use? Many cleaning products contain toxic compounds and the residue left behind can affect an office's indoor air quality. A cleaning company should be able to source alternative products that do not contain volatile components, although this might result in a slight increase in the cost of the cleaning service. There are many organic cleaning products on offer and using these around the office will result in better air quality.
While most electronic devices and appliances only emit a negligible amount of carbon, it's still there. Couple this with the fact that many offices do not have adequate ventilation, and it's no wonder that office air quality can be poor. Ventilation is not always possible as an open window can throw off a building's heating or cooling measures, or the office might be located on the higher floors of a multi-storied building. Placing a number of potted plants around the office is a natural and easy way to improve air quality. The plants will absorb pollutants and emit clean oxygen, all while looking great. As natural light is not abundant in most offices, be sure to use plants that don't need much sunlight to thrive.
Improving the air quality inside an office takes time, but it's not all that difficult. Your lungs and those of your co-workers will thank you.