To create an eco-friendly healthy office, where should you start?
Hands down, it’s with the air you and your employees and co-workers breathe. But why?
You spend almost as much time at work as you do at home. And often those workplaces are filled with airborne toxins.
These toxins come from industrial cleaning products, chemical compounds used to make carpeting and furniture, air “fresheners” laden with pollutants, and stale air. They don’t “just” stink up the air. They cause headaches, joint pain, itchy eyes. They make people cranky. Sometimes they worsen asthma and other respiratory ailments.
And all of that makes people unproductive. It’s just harder to do a good job when you feel lousy.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it SHOULDN’T be that way. Here’s how you can create an eco-friendly, healthy office that won’t make you or your employees cranky or sick, with thanks to Global Furniture Group for supporting this post.
Your Eco-Friendly Healthy Office
- Skip air fresheners. Most commercial air fresheners contain phthalates and other toxic chemicals that pose hazards if you’re pregnant and might make it more difficult for you to get pregnant if you want to be. What to Do? Remove whatever is causing the foul odor, which is probably rotting food. Open windows and let in fresh air, or use bowls of dried flowers and other herbal potpourri to add a pleasant scent.
- Choose no-VOC Paints. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are full of solvents and heavy metals that go airborne as soon as the can of paint is opened. When an entire office is painted with VOC paint, indoor air can become unbearable to breathe. What to Do? Choose no-VOC paint, which is now available from virtually every major paint manufacturer. Paint on weekends when no staff are around. Keep windows and fans circulating fresh air to hasten drying.
- Avoid pressed wood furniture. Pressed wood furniture may be glued together with chemicals that “off gas” into the air, including formaldehyde, a known toxin. Furniture cushions made from foam may be treated with fire retardants, which also off gas dangerous chemicals. What to Do? Pick solid wood furniture finished with water-based sealants, or furniture made from steel or other metal. Look for furniture made from recycled wood , as well.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products. Most commercial cleansers are notorious for the harsh chemicals they contain and the nasty residue they leave behind. What to Do? Choose eco-friendly and healthy cleansers certified for industrial and office use by Green Seal. They’ll get the job done without adding to the chemical burden already in the office.
- Bring in plants. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration discovered that over 50 different types of plants do a terrific job of helping to purify the air. Plus, adding natural greenery to a workspace is good for office morale. Most people just feel better around a plant, even if they don’t realize it consciously. What to Do? Once you figure out how much direct and indirect light you have, choose plants from this list to place around the office.
Healthier air means fewer sick days for employees, and happier employees on the job. Plus, it’s just the best way to run a business.
These 5 actions will help keep the air at work fresher and safer, and put you on your way to creating an eco-friendly, healthy office.
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