Ambius Air Quality Survey

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Ambius Air Quality Survey

In order to maintain our position at the forefront of the interior landscape industry, we are always seeking learning opportunities. Our 2018 study on the significance of the office environment in overall job satisfaction revealed some important statistics and prompted further thought on a key element of the office environment - air quality. Ambius conducted a study of 1,000 office workers in the United States and 500 in Canada to gain valuable insights about the impact of air quality on employee well-being and productivity. The results were quite staggering. Learn more about the survey below.

Poor air quality has made 40% of US office workers ill

If you've ever experienced a headache or trouble breathing at work, have you considered it may be because of the air quality in your office?

Ambius conducted a survey1 to reveal that almost half of workers in the US have taken a day off because the quality of the air in their office had made them ill. This is compared to just 8% of workers in Canada. Poor air quality can cause headaches, dizziness, dry throat, and congestion, among other afflictions.

While these stats show a large disparity between the two North American countries, the inability to concentrate due to air conditions was more universal. Almost three-quarters of workers from both US and Canada reported that bad air quality disrupted their focus. 

Employers may not always consider air quality as a direct cause of employee absence, but these stats reveal that by not considering this factor, it's not only costing them business, but their workforce is suffering because of it.

Ambius Office Workers Survey

The top three air quality issues reported by workers in the survey were poor air circulation, excessive dust, and the smell of chemicals. 

These conditions are entirely preventable and can be altered by reviewing key elements of your building such as air quality monitors; HVAC systems and maintenance programs; natural lighting. One improvement that impacts people's perceptions is indoor plants. Plants, especially green walls, have some ability to remove pollutants from the air.  They also reduce carbon dioxide in the air, which can positively impact fatigue, concentration and productivity.  The benefits of plants on physical health are clear, but their impact on psychological comfort and well-being are often even more powerful. They've also been revered for their impact on mental health, too, as it's been found that being among plants reduces stress - a key advantage for office environments especially. 

The lack of indoor plants in offices was actually noted by our respondents as having an impact on their workplace, with nearly a third of workers in both the US and Canada listing it as an issue. This indicates that workers understand the benefits indoor plants can have and they also notice air quality more than their employers might think­ over 80% of workers in Canada and over 90% in the US admitted to paying attention to the air quality in their office.

Ambius Office Workers Survey

Who is responsible for air quality?

Survey respondents place the onus of air quality squarely on the showers of employers. Four out of five respondents in both countries agreed that it is important for employers to take the initiative to improve air quality in offices, however, over a third of Canadian and over a quarter of US office workers are unaware if they are doing so.

Improving the air quality should be a priority for employers for two main reasons. Firstly, the sicknesses being contracted are usually as a result of prolonged exposure to elements from poor air quality. Over half (56%) of workers in Canada and almost a third (32%) of workers in the US spend over 8 hours in the office a day.

Ambius Office Workers Survey

Secondly, with increasing outdoor air quality concerns due to pollution and climate change, workers are spending more and more time indoors.  Two out of three workers in the US have chosen to have their lunch inside due to the air pollution surrounding their office. Creating a pleasant, healthy environment for workers may help to improve worker health when outdoor time becomes increasingly less viable.

Ambius Office Workers Survey

Ways to improve air quality

No employee should need to actively avoid their workplace because of poor ventilation, stagnant air, or smells affecting their focus. Office design should produce a space where employees can work comfortably to produce the best possible work. Biophilic spaces are designed to do just that.

Keeping the air clean and healthy in a modern office environment requires many factors working together. Whether grouped with interior planting or large green wall installations, plants are an important part of the mix. When incorporated through biophilic design, the overall well-being of office workers is impacted for the better. 

"With workers spending so much time indoors, it is imperative that businesses are aware of ways to create indoor environments that can positively impact the health and well-being of employees – and that includes air quality," said Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation at Ambius. "Bringing elements of nature into the workplace has positive effects on performance, including increases in productivity, job satisfaction, creativity, and a greater sense of well-being."

With a deep understanding of the ambient environment's impact on brand reputation, Ambius takes a consultative approach to design, install, and service interior landscapes that enhance lives and create world-class experiences. Ambius experts will work to make sure you have the right plants to thrive in your space from low-light plants, like Dracaenas, to medium light, Philodendrons. Green walls and vertical gardens can enliven the air with a distinguished freshness while making a dramatic statement.

Whichever option you choose; your office can reap the rewards of indoor plants, especially through green walls, by:

  • Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air
  • Increasing humidity levels
  • Decreasing levels of particular pollutants
  • Lowering airborne dust levels, which are known irritants
  • Keeping the atmosphere at a comfortable temperature

Need help creating a better office experience? Contact Ambius online today to schedule a free consultation with a design expert to bring your visions to life.

1 Ambius surveyed 1000 office workers in the US and 500 office workers in Canada