The Season of Sneezing
We all know the time of year, the one when nearly everyone seems to be suffering from allergies and sneezing, running noses, and runny eyes are rampant. Dust in the air, pollen at its peak, during allergy season with so many things already working against you, you don’t need anything else making it worse. Unfortunately, many cleaning companies ignore the challenges of allergies, indoor air pollution and clean air issues when it comes to your facility’s cleaning and some even make indoor air quality worse.
People with allergies are going to suffer more than people without them during allergy season, but they will certainly suffer MORE in a poorly cleaned building. And employees that suffer from allergies as a result of a poorly cleaned building are going to get less work done and absenteeism is going to be higher.
What Are Allergens & How Should I Deal With Them?
An allergen is any molecule of substance that can cause mild to severe irritation if inhaled or if it gets into mucous membranes. These particles tend to hide themselves along surfaces or even flooring. In your building this can be anywhere, like surfaces like chairs, desks, plants, soft furnishings, fixtures and more. These particles are easily dislodged from their temporary homes by normal air flow, dusting and other movement and have a tendency to cause all sorts of problems for anyone in the vicinity.
Cleaning cannot just be about a surface level clean that makes things look good, it must be about cleaning for health. It isn’t as simple as dusting and vacuuming occasionally, especially during peak allergy season. Not only will a professional janitorial service make your building much cleaner, it will help protect your employee’s health.
Why Should I Care About Allergens in my Building?
Healthy work environments have been shown to support employee’s motivation level and the perception of the expectation of quality, and thus their productivity. That being said, cleaning for health goes well beyond simply improving employee productivity. Allergens can cause and exacerbate serious problems and present a real health risk to anyone that spends any length of time inside your building as we discuss below.
The Risks Associated with Poor Cleaning
Allergens are such a problem, especially during this time of year, that they have their own measurement, IAQ (indoor air quality). Buildings with a low IAQ score cause all sorts of problems for the people that occupy them. Working adults often spend as much time in their office building as they do at home and a poor IAQ can exacerbate and create serious health issues.
According to the CDC: “Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to substances that generally do not affect other individuals. These substances, or allergens, can cause sneezing, coughing, and itching. Allergic reactions range from merely bothersome to life-threatening.” Continuous exposure to such allergens can cause asthma, lung disease, heart disease, and in some cases cancer. Allergens are so problematic that they are a significant cause of absenteeism and low productivity in the workplace.
On the flipside, healthy work environments mean healthy staff, which is correlated with higher productivity and better work in general. By working with a cleaning service dedicated to improving your IAQ and the overall health of your building, you can take responsibility for your employee’s health all while increasing productivity and improving your bottom line.
The most important step in improving your IAQ is to identify and control the primary source of allergens in your building. By identifying the main sources of allergens, you can help reduce the number that make it into your facility. The best way to do this is to work with a professional cleaning service. By taking advantage of effective services and even a green cleaning program, you can get an environmentally responsible solution to your allergen problem.
By taking advantage of industry innovation, you can get an effective, budget-friendly clean and make sure your building stays clean without sacrificing your IAQ. Partnering with a professional is the best long term solution to air quality, but there are some things that you can do to help combat allergens in your facility without our help:
- Limiting the number of office plants is always a good place to start, while everyone likes a little green, plants offer the perfect place for mold and bacteria to grow unchecked
- Try to keep the restrooms dry, moisture can be one way ticket to mold. Of course, changing the restroom air filter is always a must as well
- Vacuuming regularly can help remove large dust and dirt particles that build up over time, but be careful not to do it too frequently because superficial vacuuming can sometimes do more harm than good by agitating smaller particles back into the air.
What is really comes down to is taking a little time to work on allergen problems in the workplace. They are as important to your health as they are to your bottom line.
Stathakis is Here to Help
Here at Stathakis, we have taken the time to become an ISSA's CIMS-GB certified professional cleaning company and having been providing service for over 35 years. Our CIMS certification is intended to demonstrate to our customers that we take our work seriously and are committed to the industry’s best practices. The “Green Building” part of the CIMS-GB certification is an addition we made to help our customers look towards a green future by adding LEED-EBOM points to their building. We are committed to helping our customers ‘breath a little easier’ both in our commitment to indoor air quality and working directly with Facility Managers to manage budget concerns and deliver results. Call us at 1-800-278-1884 to see how we can help you.