North America buildings sales director
Honeywell’s 2023 Healthy Buildings Survey took a look at office worker’s perceptions and attitudes about their building’s air quality and carbon footprint, and found that not only has the majority of concerns about workplace IAQ nearly doubled since last year, but that those office workers have now have increased expectations when it comes to having a healthier workplace.
Respondents of the 2023 Honeywell survey consisted of 2,500 office workers in five markets who work in buildings with 500+ employees: Germany, India, the Middle East, the U.K., and the U.S.
Of the respondents, 74% (across all markets) expressed some degree of worry in regard to their workplace’s IAQ, and 43% of respondents said their very or extremely worried. Of the five markets, the U.S. had the largest increase of “extremely or very worried” employees.
The survey also found that 93% of respondents reported that their expectations of better IAQ in their respective workplaces has increased.
“This year’s survey results show the respondents’ awareness and concerns about both the planet’s health and their own well-being have changed,” said Mike Keller, North America buildings sales director at Honeywell. “Building occupants want and expect a healthier work environment — contractors should pay attention and be ready to help building owners and operators take steps to improve the IAQ, while also keeping the occupants’ comfort in mind.”
In the survey, 86% of respondents agreed with the statement, “Limiting investment in indoor air quality technology shows a low commitment to employee safety and well-being.” And a majority of those surveyed believe that the responsibility of improving IAQ falls directly with their employer or building manager.
Further underscoring that point, more than one in five of the respondents (21%) said they would look elsewhere for work if their employer didn’t take steps to maintain a healthy indoor environment.
“To help address these concerns, contractors need to better understand what solutions they can provide, such as IAQ sensors to monitor parameters like temperature, humidity, and CO2,” Keller said.
For the first time, Honeywell’s Healthy Building survey posed questions. One was: “How strongly do you agree with the following: The quality of air I breathe has a direct impact on my health and well-being.” (66% of respondents strongly agreed.) Another asked: “Which of the following do you think are the result of safe IAQ?” Respondents listed “Better overall physical health” (59%); “Better overall mental health” (56%); “Fewer allergic reactions (sneezing, coughing, etc.)” (51%); “Better productivity and problem-solving” (49%); “Fewer airborne contaminants” (46%); “Fewer odors in the air” (41%).
Almost all of the respondents (97%) also said that good IAQ improves their productivity at work.
“As part of their service offerings, contractors should offer customers a range of options for monitoring and controlling IAQ, while at the same time sharing solutions that help customers work towards their sustainability goals,” Keller said. “This includes educating users on available solutions and providing testimonials from other customers who improved both their IAQ and energy efficiency.”
When it comes to how important the carbon footprint of the respondent’s building was, 67% reported that it was extremely important that their employer or building manager monitor their building’s carbon emissions. 73% of respondents felt that their employer should take action to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, and 91% of respondents even reported that they would be willing to forgo at least one job perk if that meant more funds could be invested in reducing the impact the building has on the environment.
“[Contractors] can help building owners establish a baseline of carbon emissions and then implement corrective action to help reduce those emissions. If contractors are not having discussions with building owners about environmental impact and compliance, their competitors will,” Keller said.
The survey also showed that office workers want more data when it comes to IAQ. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed said it was very or extremely important their building manager or employer kept them informed of their building’s IAQ and 67% felt it’s extremely or very important that those responsible are actively monitoring the carbon emissions of the building.
“The good news is that modern building management systems along with advanced controls software can both improve IAQ and help reduce carbon emissions, so contractors need to be aware of what is possible and ready to execute the right solution,” Keller said.
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