By Natalie Wilson
There is a lot of talk these days about just how bad air pollution is for us. Whether you suffer from asthma or even work on a farm, it seems that no one can escape the effects of air pollution. Office workers may believe that, because they work indoors, that they can avoid the damaging effects which so many others come into contact with, but it turns out that offices may be one of the worst places to work when it comes to air pollution.
When it comes to cities and urban areas, air pollution can be a huge problem and a huge proportion of office spaces are based within these areas. Not including your daily commute to and from work, your office is likely to be at risk of contributing to your exposure to this polluted air. So, with that in mind, here are 4 reasons why polluted air may be having an impact on your career, without you even realizing it.
Taking More Sick Days
Air pollution can be extremely damaging to our health and prolonged periods of exposure can make you very unwell, especially if you already suffer from health issues. The effects of polluted air are hard to ignore, but what impact does it have on the health of workers?
If you suffer from asthma, respiratory problems or migraines, then it has been shown that air pollution acts as a trigger for these health conditions and can make them worse. It is vital that you know how to protect yourself on the days where air pollution is high so that your symptoms don’t worsen. If you regularly have to travel to an area where pollution levels are high, then it is likely that you will be at increased risk of suffering from long-term periods of illness, leading to taking more sick days.
Air Quality and Your Office
If it’s smoggy outside, then why should this be a concern to you when you are sat at your desk indoors? In actual fact, this should be a huge concern. Recent studies have shown that office workers can feel the impact of bad air quality outdoors just as much as those who work outdoors in it. A study found that when air pollution levels go up, productivity in office workers goes down and this can cause work levels to drop.
Although pollution is less present indoors, it can infiltrate even the most air-tight buildings. For those offices who are in the center of a busy city, then it is vital that they invest in proper air ventilation for employees, whether that comes from installed industrial ventilation systems or buying air purifiers for the office.
It Could Affect Your Chances Of Being Hired
Even though recent employment reports have shown steady increases across the board when it comes to the number of people who are now employed, depending on the sector in which you work, air pollution may have an impact on the number of people who are hired.
Jobs which are based outdoors, such as building and maintenance work, are all known to have been affected by the effects of air pollution. Within the fossil fuel industry, there have also been decreases in the number of jobs available as the industry is constantly battling off eco-friendly energy competitors and having to get to grips with additional safety and monitoring measures. Energy efficiency is the US’s cheapest and cleanest energy resource and contributes to more energy needs than oil, gas or nuclear energy. It currently accounts for over 2.3 million jobs in the US, which is 10 times more than coal mining or oil drilling.
It Will Have An Impact On Your Commute
No matter how you choose to get to work, whether you walk, cycle, use public transport or drive, you will be put into direct contact with air pollution. The amount of cars on the road is at the highest level ever recorded and a huge proportion of people are still yet to consider the change over to hybrid or electric vehicles. Thanks to these increased numbers, if you take public transport then you can expect a longer commute time. If you cycle or walk, then you may be concerned about being more at risk of exposure to high pollution levels.
Making small changes within your routine can reduce your exposure to air pollution quite considerably. It has been proven that active commuters – those who walk or cycle – are typically less exposed to air pollution than those who travel by bus or car. This may be that because vehicles travel in a queue, air pollution is absorbed by ventilation systems and is trapped inside. Making small changes to your mode of commuting can decrease your exposure to pollution by around 25%-90%, so it is well worth ditching the car and walking or cycling instead.