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Safe Air in London has long been an issue of concern, with proven statistics that the environment has long-term impacts on health and longevity. Then COVID came along and took everything up another level. Clean air and containing the virus has never been more critical, and these considerations have fundamentally changed how we work entirely. So how has work and the entire office setup evolved since COVID began?

Effect of Home Office Working

The shakeup of the whole corporate and labour world was unprecedented, and no one could have predicted the hybrid home-office setup that is now many people’s reality. Now, where and how we work, who we work near, and how close we sit to them are vital puzzle pieces that mattered less in pre-COVID times.

An essential question in this climate has been, is it safe for office workers to return? A critical but complex aspect of this is the building’s ventilation system and if they are suitable for the task of keeping workers safe. But London is a complicated city to live and work in, so there are many issues to consider beyond COVID that will affect an office in particular.

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London's Pollution Problem

Anyone who’s worked in London knows that grey smog hangs heavy in the air and makes the chest constrict at times. Pollution and poor air quality are hallmarks of the city, and recent research from the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, suggests that London exceeds all acceptable global pollution levels. This is true both inside an office and outside on the street. There are many initiatives in place to try and tackle this problem, but it’s one that won’t be going away any time soon.

What About the Air Inside?

Indoor air quality is generally estimated to be between two and five times worse for pollutants and contamination than outdoor air, especially in densely populated work environments where everyone breathes in the same recirculated oxygen. So it’s of particular importance in London to ensure the indoor air is safe and clean as the outdoor air is not. This can really only be done via a building ventilation system.

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Why Won't Natural Ventilation Suffice?

Natural ventilation utilises a range of methods to get air in and out without any sort of machine or fan helping the process. The main benefit of this is that there is no energy or electric usage to power machinery to provide that ventilation. However, when considering city environments, particularly with the high levels of pollution that are found in London, it is not feasible often to even open a window.

This is because the smog, dirt, smell and pollution all come rushing into the building, not to mention the damp and often cold weather that makes it more miserable and health-compromising having a window open.

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Mechanical Building Ventilation

The UK Health and Safety Executive states that even though windows can give sufficient ventilation, mechanical ventilation systems are better and more efficient – where possible, they should be installed. It is also vital that buildings with installed mechanical ventilation systems ensure that maintenance is a top priority to ensure optimum functioning. That means keeping them clean, free of dirt, mould, pests that leave a mess, and bacteria. A filtration system is also favourable, improving an already healthy and functioning system. Without this, viruses like COVID can quickly spread.

How Can Offices Improve Indoor Air Quality in Other Ways?

A fully-functional and clean ventilation system is the first essential step to having a clean and healthy office air supply, but other things are worth considering to enhance this. The right plants, for example, added to a workspace can improve office mental health while also purifying the air and filtering pollutants. It is also recommended to reduce chemical usage in the space, such as cleaning products, paints, candles burning, or aerosol and plug-in air fresheners. All of these have been proven to create harmful air pollutants, so switching to natural or eco-friendly alternatives will go a long way to improving indoor office air quality.

Need Help With Your Ventilation System or Building Cleaning?

If you would like help with professional ventilation cleaning assistance or to detox your building and workspace, reach out to Grease Gone Commercial Cleaning London. We help companies keep their ventilation system in tiptop condition – you can be confident that our experts have the know-how and experience to offer the best services possible. Call us today to receive further information on how we can help.

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