Office workers worry over air quality, says Honeywell

  • March 8, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Nearly three out of four office workers (72%) are worried about their building’s indoor air quality (IAQ), according to a report from Honeywell.

The healthy-buildings survey queried 3000 office workers in buildings with 500-plus workers in Asean, Germany, India, Middle East, UK and USA.

The findings show that surveyed employees in all regions worry about the impact of poor air quality on their well-being and want more information from their employers.

About two-thirds (62%) of those surveyed receive updates about IAQ only occasionally or never, and just 15% receive real-time updates. More than six in ten (62%) say they’re ready to leave their job if their employer doesn’t take steps to create a healthier indoor environment.

An overwhelming majority (89%) of those surveyed agree that the quality of air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and well-being. Nearly all (98%) believe safe IAQ provides at least one health benefit: better overall physical health (62%); fewer allergies, less sneezing and coughing (60%); less exposure to airborne contaminants (57%); better overall mental health (53%); and improved productivity and problem solving (43%).

Yet few respondents across any of the markets get regular updates on their building’s air quality. While almost a third (29%) of surveyed C-level executives receive frequent updates, only 13% of non-C-level workers are actively informed. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of lower-level workers receive updates rarely, never or only sometimes at best.

Nearly all (90%) of surveyed workers consider it at least somewhat important to be kept informed of their building’s air quality. This includes 65% who consider it very or extremely important.

About two in five respondents (41%) can accurately identify all the factors that contribute to indoor air quality. More than a third (36%) do not know that CO2 level factors into IAQ, and 41% are unaware that humidity plays a part.

“These findings suggest that workers in every region are aware that indoor air quality can affect their well-being and expect employers to take action, both to improve IAQ and keep them better informed,” said Doug Wright, CEO of Honeywell Building Technologies. “In a competitive labour market, demonstrating an effort to create a healthier work environment can be an advantage in attracting and retaining employees. Every dollar invested in upgrading workplace air quality, monitoring IAQ data and communicating it to employees is a dollar strategically spent.”

Honeywell’s healthy buildings products integrate air quality, safety and security technologies with analytics to help building owners improve the health of their buildings, operate more cleanly, comply with guidelines, and help reassure occupants. The firm’s IAQ portfolio can help improve occupant well-being, meet energy efficiency goals and, importantly, change the way occupants experience a building. 

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 3000 office workers in buildings of 500-plus workers in Asean, Germany, India, Middle East, UK and USA between December 17, 2021, and January 11, 2022, using an email invitation and an online form.