Businesses spend billions of dollars annually in renovating and enhancing work spaces to create the “perfect” environment in hopes of increasing employee productivity. Does it work? Of course, it works! But, are businesses missing out on the most important factor of all?

As a corporate executive, a manager, or a small business owner, you are on top of your game when it comes to ensuring high levels of productivity. After all, your knowledge workers get paid big bucks so it’s important to get it right! So, you invest in lighting, consider ergonomic checks for your furniture, remove clutter, repaint the room color, keep noise levels down and make sure that the temperature is always perfect between 69-72 degrees Fahrenheit. You may even make sure the scent is just right, bringing nature indoors, and oh yes, let’s not forget free refreshments for all. All these investments are costly but in your mind, it’s all worth it. Or is it? Maybe you have missed a key element in your quest?

Annual cost of poor Air Quality in office environments cost employers $15 billion

As individuals, we take 20,000 breaths a day. With each breath, we are susceptible to harmful environmental gases with consequential outcomes to our health and wellness. Yes, I am talking about Air Quality in your work environment. According to OSHA, the annual cost of poor air quality in office environments cost employers $15 billion.

Even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers – Joseph Allen

“We have been ignoring the 90%. We spend 90% of our time indoors and 90% of the cost of a building are the occupants, yet indoor environmental quality and its impact on health and productivity are often an afterthought,” said Joseph Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment. His study found crisis response to improve by 131%, strategy by 288% and information usage by 299%, when measuring nine cognitive function domains between those in normal working environments compared to those in work environments with low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and enhanced ventilation (dubbed “green+”).

Yet another study carried out by Jack Spengler and Piers McNaughton at Harvard University estimated the productivity benefits from doubling the ventilation rates are $6,500 per person per year not including other potential health benefits, such as reduced sick building syndrome and absenteeism.

A tiny, accurate, affordable nano gas sensor can detect harmful gases in the air you breathe

So, the next time you think of painting the office environment with a vibrant medley of stimulating hues or spending more on ergonomic furniture to spruce up team productivity, think again! Just how bad is the air quality? Because, if your employees are getting sick from the air they are breathing at work, nothing is going to help except not being in that environment. How do you even know what’s in the air you and your employees breathe 8-12 hours a day? Hint: Nano gas sensor – tiny, accurate and affordable.

Once you know what’s in the air, it’s important to have the right ventilation and purification systems, identify and control major sources of chemicals, bring in plants, ensure regular maintenance of office equipment, double check all cleaning chemicals for levels of toxicity, and think green building! Now, watch productivity levels propel your business to new heights.