How successful would your facility be without your star talent?
Every day, you have an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the people who make you shine.
Going that extra distance can really pay off in employee retention, a huge challenge given that more than 40 percent of employers, globally, struggle with a talent shortage (Manpower Group). Adding to the problem: Millennials, the largest generation in the US workforce, change jobs as easily as clothes. A Gallup survey confirms that 60 percent of them are open to a move.
What are the most meaningful benefits that will keep your top performers close to you--across the generations? One of the most important wellness offerings a company can give is a commitment to everyone's health and comfort. That includes maintaining good indoor air quality, and continually "scrubbing" the air of common allergens and dust. Simple measures can help people feel and perform much better.
These measures aren't just "nice to have"; the costs of not implementing them are surprisingly high.
● U.S. companies lose more than $250 million per year due to missed work and decreased productivity from allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
● The World Health Organization states that 11 percent of asthma worldwide is caused by gases, dust or fumes in the workplace.
Facilities are getting the message that it's time to take action and help employees breathe better.
Efforts by major government and nonprofit organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) are opening everyone's eyes to why our indoor air should be a healthcare priority. They're not only addressing measures for removing dust and pollen; they're also paying attention to indoor contaminants like formaldehyde and VOCs that are implicated in heart disease, cancer and more.
There are examples in the news every day of major companies who make indoor air quality a priority. For example, 4 Times Square (formerly called the Condé Nast building) in New York implemented an effective system to sustain high indoor air quality (IAQ) while minimizing energy expense. Additionally, the Park Place Buildings in Irvine, CA, a 1.8 million square foot mixed-use development, proactively tests and monitors IAQ and provides a green office environment.
What simple changes can you make to give your employees the air quality they deserve?
Start with a look at your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. Ask your building or facilities manager how often the HVAC filters are being changed. These filters remove dust, pollen, and other allergens. Even air purifiers can only remove so much dust if their filters are sitting, month after month, black with dirt.
Here are ways to ensure your filters are working optimally:
Measure them precisely: A filter that is too small will let damaging particles into the air stream, while one that is too large will impede airflow.
Look for high ratings, but don’t go overboard: A standard performance rating system is MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value), which is based on a filter’s thickness. Resist the temptation to go for the highest number without some advance research; it could burn out your system.
Step up the frequency of inspections: Even if you’re changing your filters every few months, you may find excess dust blocking your airflow. Be particularly careful during peak heating and cooling season, when you want to maximize the performance of your HVAC equipment.
More depth, fewer changes: Filters with more surface area can absorb more particles, and as a result need to be changed less often. Just ensure that they won’t overtax the system you have.
Look for measures of strength: For instance, filters that only have frames on one side will not be as durable as those with a second frame.
Plan ahead: HVAC equipment changes fast, and that means “standard” filter sizes change quickly too. You may need to have your filters custom manufactured, and don’t want to come up short due to long production or delivery times. Web research will enable you to find suppliers who carry more “obscure” frames, or who can custom manufacture and deliver them within a few days without a commensurate price increase.
There are other technologies you or your building manager can use to build on your use of filters. Tapping into the cloud and/or the Internet of Things, these solutions monitor contaminants (such as CO2 and VOCs) in the air and "scrub" them out. There are a broad range of innovations for entrepreneurs to investigate, from ionization technologies to energy recovery ventilation products. These solutions help buildings save energy, as well.
Your employees' health is precious. These individuals are giving you their all -- their time, their best thinking and their passion. Make sure that when they are at work, you are doing everything possible to ensure their good health -- starting with the best possible indoor air quality.
David Heacock is Founder and CEO of FilterBuy, a leading U.S. manufacturer of quality-made custom HVAC air filters, furnace filters, and industrial filters, sold directly to businesses and consumers via subscriptions or on a spot basis.