Is Your Office Making Your Employees Sick? Things to know
by Compass Cleaning Solutions • April 30, 2018
Employees calling in sick can be a disaster for any business, especially for a small business that doesn't have enough manpower to cover the absent employee's workload. You've perhaps heard all types of reasons why your employee is sick, but what if your office is the underlying cause of the issue? How would you feel that your lack of maintenance program was making your office workers sick?
If your employees share the same symptoms (like itchy eyes, sinus infection, or headaches) and these symptoms tend to disappear when they're away from your office, then your office may be experiencing sick building syndrome (SBS).
What Is Sick Building Syndrome?SBS is a condition where the occupants of the same building experience symptoms of illness or feel sick for no obvious reason. The symptoms are often linked to the time spent on the building. The occupants tend to experience more severe symptoms when they spend more time on the building and only show improvement when they're away.
You shouldn't confuse SBS with building-related illness. While SBS is used as a general term when people are undergoing different symptoms, building-related illness describes the patients experiencing allergic reactions and symptoms.
- Common Symptoms Of SBS
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Poor concentration/memory
- Muscle pain
Top 5 Reasons Your Office Is Likely Putting You Under The Weather
Inadequate VentilationTypically, older buildings have poor air ventilation. This can result in the proliferation of carbon monoxide and other harmful elements such as styrene and benzene. This causes bacteria and dangerous microorganisms to circulate indoors, which leads to respiratory problems.
In the early 1900s, the standard building ventilation was about 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outdoor air for every person in the building. This is mainly done to reduce and eliminate body odors. The 1973 oil embargo had changed the standards and cut it to 5 cfm of outside air per person. In a lot of cases, these minimized outdoor air ventilation rates were deemed to be insufficient for the comfort and health of people.
Yes, you're right. Inadequate ventilation can cause SBS with the proliferation of these following contaminants.
Exterior Chemical ContaminantsExterior pollutants, like exhaust and plumbing vapors, can still enter the office if your intake vents are poorly situated. These pollutants can also enter through the windows and other openings. Combustion items can get inside a building from near garage.
Indoor Chemical ContaminantsMeanwhile, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning agents and carpeting can circulate inside and affect the health of your office workers. Environmental cigarette smoke emits high levels of VOCs that can cause acute health problems and even cancer.
Biological ContaminantsGerms, molds, and other viruses may grow in stagnant water that has been collected in drain pans, humidifiers, or any place where water has accumulated. Symptoms linked to biological contamination include tightening of the chest, fever, and muscle pains. There are several measures to control the acceptable levels of gaseous indoor air pollutants. You can begin by increasing ventilation rates, eradicating pollutant sources, and cleaning the air. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also suggests regular maintenance of HVAC systems.
Compass Cleaning Solutions is a full-service commercial cleaning company that offers Regular Recurring Service. This is more than regular vacuuming and dusting daily or monthly. We resolve client's problems including lighting problems and changing of HVAC filters.
Good thing that Compass Cleaning Solutions use organic cleaning products because it prevents the emission of indoor chemical contaminants. We also use modern equipment and procedures to offer the best results, minimize costs, and reduce the impact to the environment.
Poor Lighting Or Lack Of DaylightThere is a link between light and SBS. According to a Northwestern University study, office workers exposed to more light at the office performs better at work compared to those exposed to poor lighting. Exposure to light also impacts the mood, metabolism, and attentiveness.
Typical symptoms of lack of daylight include headaches, fatigue, and eye irritation. Circulating daylight inside the office is, therefore, a sure method of preventing SBS. Daylight is different than other light sources because it's lively and alters throughout the day.
The natural light is ideal because it doesn't strain your eyes and makes you feel connected outside even when you're indoors. This dynamic difference in daylight also prompts the circadian rhythms, helping in revitalizing energy.
Bad lighting can be dangerous in the workplace, so you should be aware of it. There are various types of bad lighting including flicker, glare, and bad light placement. When not resolved immediately, your employees might suffer eye strain which can cause other problems, such as:
- Burning, dry, or red eyes
- Sensitivity to contrast
- Minimized vision sharpness
- Double vision
Bad posture can be the result of poor lighting. This can result in other health issues, such as neck pain and back pain. When you can't clearly perceive the depth and proximity of items, you'll also be more prone to accidents.
Again, you may ask Compass Cleaning Services to do the additional service of changing the lights. You can tell us how often you want it done. This additional service will affect the price but it will surely improve the condition of your employees.
StressThe physical surroundings aren't the only reason why your employees are getting sick. It could also be linked to occupational stress. Recent studies show that stress is linked to SBS. Stress can affect your heart, blood pressure, and brain.
Related disorders of stress include headaches, coronary heart disease, and peptic ulcers. When you're under stress, your body creates quick psychological changes to deal with difficult situations. If the stressful situation persists, your body's adaptive capacity might be extinguished and it could lead to illness.
More reports show that employees with low organizational support are more likely to complain about stress-related diseases. The lack of support can lose your motivation to work.
Other causes of work-related stress include:
Bad RelationshipsMany jobs require constant coordination with other employees. If you have a bad relationship with your boss or co-worker, then your workplace will seem to be like a living hell.
Job InsecurityEmployees who work in a downsizing company are highly prone to stress. The fear of losing one's job at any moment can be really nerve-wracking.
Workplace DemandsEmployees tend to get stressed when they're overworked. The long hours of work deprive them the chance to enjoy their personal life with friends and family. The poor balance of work and life may even lead to substance-abuse problems, according to a research.
If not mediated properly, work-related stress can result in fatal conditions. So what can you do to reduce stress? Support your employees and praise them for their achievements.
Be transparent. Tell your employees about the situation of your company to let them feel secure. You can also arrange a team building activity to create a positive relationship.
OvercrowdingSome companies try to fit their employees in a small space. Although this may cut down the cost and promote collaboration, a smaller, packed office can have a bad effect on the physical and mental health of workers. The higher noise levels may increase environmental stressors and disturb the employees' concentration.
Another health risk of overcrowding is physical injury, like pains on the lower back and arms. When you try to compress as many people as possible in a small room, you need to compromise the setup of desks and computers.
Also, stuffing a lot of your employees in one tiny room can increase the risk of airborne diseases. This means when one suffers a cold, all the other employees are more likely to get the disease as well. Disease outbreaks are more frequent and grave when the population is high.
To stop the spread of airborne disease, advise your sick employees to wear masks or allow them to work at home. You can also provide free anti-bacterial wipes and always clean the keyboards. If you need a thorough cleaning service in Phoenix, you can use a janitorial cleaning service.
Compass Cleaning Solutions offers janitorial and office cleaning services. From window cleaning to extensive office cleaning, we perform it all. Our janitorial service provides a customized approach to suit your specific needs and cleans according to your desired schedule.
We use vacuums with HEPA filtration to make sure that all dust and allergens don't spread into the air or are transmitted to other surfaces. We buy all products in concentrated type to minimize packaging costs and produce less waste. All products we use are organic and safe for the environment and people.
Dirty CarpetsA lot of us don't mind how clean our carpets are. We only pay attention when they look dirty, and we rarely recognize the fact that we clean the carpets to protect our health. The truth is, even if your office carpets may look clean, there could be some contaminants breeding and hidden from the naked eye.
Many allergens and contaminants (such as bacteria, fungi, and mold) can be collected in dirty carpets. They usually come from moisture and nutrients that you bring outside. Hundreds of pathogens, from dust mites to bacteria, may live beneath the surface of the carpets.
A dirty carpet is also one of the main contributors to indoor pollution, which can put the health of your workers at risk. The allergens trapped in the filthy carpets can emit dangerous fumes into the air inside your office.
When inhaled, these harmful fumes can cause the following health problems:
AllergiesDust mites thrive on filthy carpets due to the existence of fungi and bacteria. These tiny critters can cause allergies and skin irritation. Even if dead, these mites are still harmful because they can still cause sneezing, itchiness, and other inconveniences.
Asthma AttacksFilthy carpets make indoor air quality poor and elevate the risk of asthma. If not resolved correctly, they can result in more severe respiratory problems.
Low Immune SystemDirty carpets can also breed harmful mycotoxins. When exposed for a very long time, these toxins can exhaust your immune system and even be fatal.
Vacuuming your carpets every day surely helps, but it's not adequate. Meticulous vacuuming can eliminate up to 85% of these harmful contaminants, but another 15% still exist. To give your office a professional carpet cleaning and eliminate 100% of allergens, it's important that you engage the help of a professional carpet cleaning company, like Compass Cleaning Solutions.
Compass Cleaning provides a complete deep cleaning of your carpets to ensure that each fiber is cleaned perfectly. We understand that every type of carpet and situation requires special cleaning methods. We can offer a carpet maintenance program that will regularly remove the dirt and extend the life of your carpet.
How Can Compass Cleaning Solutions Help You?Aside from carpet maintenance, Compass Cleaning Solutions also offers other commercial cleaning services in Arizona, such as:
Ceiling Restoration/Cleaning: If your ceiling is dirty or ruined, Compass Cleaning has a team of experts who can clean or restore it.
Hard Floor Maintenance: If your floors look a bit dirty, Compass Cleaning can fix them and keep them looking good.
Window Cleaning: Windows are difficult to clean, especially if your office is located in the upper part of the building. Let Compass Cleaning do an interim or regular window cleaning service for you.
Day Porter Service: If you need someone on-site, Compass Cleaning has a group of professionals to keep your office clean and maintained all-day
To get a free quote, fill out this form or call 877-221-1213 for a more direct contact solution.