According to the EPA, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. It is also estimated that 90% of people worldwide breathe polluted air. If the typical person spends eight hours a day and five days a week at work, that is approximately 6,667 breaths per day or 33,333 breaths per week. And to think that could all be polluted?

However, since air is invisible – so too often are the conversations around it. At Monarch, we believe that just because air is invisible, does NOT mean you should be taking a back seat. Here are our 5 top tips that you or your landlord can be doing today to be sure your employees can not only take a deep breath of relief, but a really healthy one.

1. Invest in an Air Purification

As we breathe 20,000 breaths a day and most of those inhalations are taken indoors, what’s in that air matters for the safety of the employees within. If it’s filled with inhalable contaminants such as mold spores and mycotoxins, that can seriously impact the health of those working inside. By investing in an air purification system and switching to the best MERV filters possible for the HVAC, employers can actively work to remove these contaminants from the air and protect their employees.

Keep in mind that not all purifiers are built the same. Mold spores can be as small as 2-4 microns in size and mycotoxins can be as small as 0.1 microns, so it’s important to go with machines that have the technology to remove these from the air. Otherwise, they’ll blow right back into the indoor space. One to check out is Intellipure, as it can filter out up to 99.99% of particles as small as 0.0007 microns.

2. Stay on Top of Water Damage

Mold can grow in as little as 24-48 hours. With moisture being one of the main components needed for a mold spore to turn into an active colony, it’s important to actively work on eliminating this opportunity. Once a colony starts growing, it will continue releasing spores (and sometimes mycotoxins) into the indoor space and contaminate it.

If any leaks or water events occur within the office space, business owners should handle them quickly and properly to ensure the space is dried out and the opportunity for mold growth is removed.

3. Set Routine Building Inspections

The best way to handle mold is to prevent it from occurring in the facility in the first place. Routinely inspecting or hiring someone to inspect the building from top to bottom for hidden leaks or potential problems that could lead to mold growth can help avoid a mold outbreak. Prioritize places that aren’t often frequented or hotspot areas for water problems such as the roof, cleaning closets, kitchen spaces, and storage areas.

Catching a mold problem early within a facility can also help with remediation costs. The less time mold is allowed to grow indoors, the less contamination it’s able to spread throughout the building and lower the indoor air quality for employees. It also decreases the chances that a lucky mold spore will encounter another habitable area and begin growing. One mold problem can easily turn into three or four throughout the facility.

4. Service the HVAC

Turning the facility’s HVAC from heat to air and vice versa can lead to condensation and an opportunity for mold growth. Unfortunately, since the system sends air throughout the building, that means that all of those particles are being blown everywhere: into offices, common spaces, bathrooms, and lobbies. Hiring a service technician to come in bi-annually can help ensure that a hidden mold problem isn’t present that will contaminate the entire building and tank the indoor air quality. They’ll also make sure the machine is functioning properly and that there aren’t any problems. A malfunctioning HVAC is an open door for mold.

This step, combined with the upgraded filters, will help make sure the system is operating at maximum efficiency and employees in the building are protected.

5. Be savvy cleaners

Mold settles where dust settles. By removing the dust, you also actively remove spores. The more spores you remove, the less likely they are to find a habitable surface to start growing.

Hiring a cleaning company for the entire facility can most definitely help avoid tricky situations.

Whether it’s you or a cleaning crew, it should be noted to avoid harsh chemicals and opt for botanical products instead. One we recommend is Benefect Decon 30.  Be sure to use a HEPA vacuum cleaner: HEPA filters are required to remove at least 99.7% of particles up to 0.3 microns in size. Finally, try to mostly use microfiber towels as they are 100 times better at wiping away small particles than just regular rags.

As we enter an era where employees have more choices about where they can woke, it’s no longer an option to ignore how workplace environments can impact health and wellness. Ensuring that your workspace has the best indoor air quality possible is crucial to helping employees live the happiest and healthiest lives.

Until next time,

Brian + Ben

Interested in improving your workspace? We can help.