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Focussing on the workplace in our latest annual air quality report

For the third edition of our hugely popular Our Air in Review series, we’ve built on data we’ve collected in previous years to further contextualise the impact and importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) within the workplace.

Having published our inaugural annual report, ‘Our Air in Review’ in 2020, our previous years reports have been deep dives into all thing air quality. This year we wanted to change things up and focus primarily on the workplace as it’s often overlooked when considering environments associated with poor air quality. Featuring our biggest survey yet, this year’s report consolidates the trends and thoughts across different workplace stakeholders including senior decision-makers and employees, discussing topics such as:

State of play: IAQ awareness in the UK and US 

IAQ in the workplace 

The demand for healthy buildings: The employees’ view on IAQ 

Views from the top: What do business decision-makers think?

Tension in the air: Where employees and decision-makers don’t agree

Key takeaways: How do the insights from this report impact you?

So what are the key takeaways from the survey?

Awareness of IAQ may be higher than you think…

IAQ awareness continues to grow, however businesses underestimate the awareness and concern of their employees around the health of their commercial space.

73% of respondents said that their awareness of IAQ had increased in the past year, with the US ahead of the UK in terms of the rate of increased awareness (80% vs 65%). There was similar theme when looking at the understanding of how IAQ impacts health with 87% of US respondents claiming to have a good understanding of the health impacts of IAQ vs 73% in the UK (down 7% from the previous years results).

68% of respondents were also taking their own action to combat the health risks of poor indoor air quality by having already purchased or in the process of purchasing air quality technology in the form of IAQ monitors, air purifiers and other devices.

Is location still king? Most employees would prioritise the health of a building

Healthy buildings are a priority for employees when choosing where they work and who they work for.

Both employees and decision makers were asked which office features were most important to them, with health of the building ranking in the top three for both, and in first place for employees, ahead of the likes of location, sustainability and office layout.

Looking at the comparison between UK and US decision makers, UK organisations were more price sensitive with cost the primary feature of concern (54%) compared with building health in the US (51%), where decision makers only had cost in their top three only 44% of the time.

IAQ could be impacting the attraction and retention of staff

For the second year in a row, a company’s transparency – of lack thereof – about the quality of indoor air could be influencing talent’s decision to work for them.

81% of office workers believe that air quality monitoring should be mandatory for all office buildings, whilst only 26% of organisations were committed to monitoring indoor air quality in their commercial space.

Our Air in Review: The workplace edition – Read now, no email required

With 69% of employees stating that a lack of transparency about the quality of indoor air would influence their decision to work for an organisation this could lead to problems with attracting and retaining staff in the future, especially if awareness continues to rise.

Furthermore, employees also stated that if their office had a healthy building certification it would positively impact their decision as to whether come into the office or not (78%).

The cost of creating and maintaining a healthy building is hte greatest challenge

Business decision-makers suggest that you can put a price on the health and wellbeing of office-goers: is this justified? Or is it that they aren’t convinced of the return on investment that healthy buildings can bring?

71% of decision makers in the UK and US stated that cost was the top challenge when trying to create and maintain a healthy office space. 

Our Air in Review: The workplace edition – Read now, no email required

Occupiers will pay more for a healthy workplace

Healthy building certifications encourage employees to come to the office (78%) and attract an 18% premium on the cost of the commercial space.

Our Air in Review: The workplace edition – Read now, no email required

When this is taken into consideration alongside the challenge of cost in creating and maintaining a healthy workplace for business decision makers, it suggests that they are happy pass the cost burden onto the developer or landlord, at least in the short term.

This suggests that while cost may be a challenge, developers and landlords that can afford to prioritise healthy buildings will end up benefiting in the long term in terms of increased rental income and higher rates of occupancy.

Get more insights and key takeaways from Our Air in Review

AirRated’s mission is to create transparency about the spaces in which we live and work. We want to help as many people as possible understand more about indoor air quality (IAQ) and empower us to make informed choices on where we live, work and play, helping us to improve our health, wellbeing and productivity.

We’re passionate about making data and information about indoor air quality available to everyone, and our annual survey allows us to better understand how people view indoor air quality as well as it’s impact on our lives within the context of our working environment.

To get more insights into IAQ within the workplace, ‘Our Air in Review’ is free to download and read via AirRated’s website alongside a deeper dive into the key takeaways for occupiers, developers, landlords and employees.

Read the report here –