Research shows if you can improve the air quality at work, you improve productivity



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average improved productivity value per employee


days reduction

in sick days

Ref: study co-written by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Ref: World Green Building Council 2018

The Challenges

As businesses navigate through these uncertain times, occupant’s trust in their workplace environment will undoubtedly become more prevalent than before. The impact of COVID-19 on working practices will be felt for years to come and businesses will need to adapt. Where alternative working arrangements cannot be maintained, the quality of the indoor air within the working environment must be considered. Companies, managers, building owners and landlords will have to satisfy their staff and occupants with the reassurance that the building, supported by the BeMS/HVAC infrastructure in place, is enabling a healthy working environment.


There is evidence to suggest that poorer air quality already impacts the workforce; according to a 2012 ONS study, there were 134m sickness absence days, with ~38m of those days lost to illnesses linked to poor air quality.


Higher levels of CO2 and TVOC (smell) are indicators of a densely populated areas. If clean air isn’t circulating efficiently around these areas, the building isn’t working to produce a healthy environment for its occupants; but without a data source, the building may not be aware of the issue until it is too late. Meaning the risk of breathing in stale, stagnated and polluted air is higher for the occupant.

The Solution


We spend 90% of our time indoors with an average of 37.2 hours (full time) at work. Understanding how a building is being utilised is key to delivering an optimal working environment. Occupant behaviour within buildings will ultimately impact how the buildings systems should operate on a day-to-day basis. Gathering this information is possible today, providing not only reassurance to the buildings occupants in its ability to ensure the air is clean, but also to drive higher levels of productivity. Improving and maintaining good levels of air quality within buildings can help improve energy efficiency and well-being of the occupants.


The Airthings Wave series offers a simple deployment with data reported every 15 minutes, providing insights into temperature, humidity, TVOC, CO2, light, pressure, radon, and occupancy.


Each IoT device gathers localised and zonal data and pushes it to a local hub then directly to the cloud – instantly providing the business or building owner with the environmental reports and data directly from facility. This is a great starting point; but why stop there? Once we have the data from the occupant environment available, monitored data can be turned into actionable data.

This data is fed into the local BeMS, enabling the system to proactively react to environmental changes. For example, if occupants are in a shared-open working space and CO2 levels start to rise throughout the morning, the BeMS monitors this gradual increase, and as a set threshold is exceeded, it starts to increase the number of air turns, which in-turn controls the indoor air quality . As the BeMS reacted to this before it became a problem, there is no manual intervention required, which avoids spiking energy demand and maintains an optimal working environment ensuring productivity is maximised and the well-being of occupants is managed effectively.

Reducing the levels of the CO2 and TVOC ensure Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), and sick days relating to SBS are minimised. The rising levels in these measurements are indications of a populated area, with limited airflow. As these levels rise, productivity can fall and the chance of air-borne illness being spread increases. SBS can be mitigated and reduced if the building understands about how it is being used.


Following COVID-19, indoor air quality and well-being within a building will now undoubtedly be at the forefront of a workforce’s agenda when returning to an office environment.

Pre-COVID-19, the well-being of occupants was already a driver for many companies, COVID-19 is likely to drive these initiatives even faster as operators and occupiers see the benefits of healthy buildings. Studies have shown a dramatic improvement when comparing workforce productivity undertaking tasks in ‘typical office building conditions’ verses ‘green conditions’ (where ventilation is improved, CO2 and emissions were reduced). The study presented a staggering 61% increase on performance for cognitive tasks against standard office conditions, with productivity doubling to 100% where ventilation was improved.

Key Benefits

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Monitor and control indoor air quality

Delivering improved working environment for occupants and KPI data for landlords and operators

Delivering improved Simple, scalable and non-intrusive deployment utilising wireless technologyenvironment for occupants and KPI data for landlords and operators

No IT connectivity required, utilises roaming 2G, 3G & 4G comms to send data to the cloud

7 sensors in one, extremely cost effective and simple to deploy

Integration with BeMS through Tridium Niagara API integration allowing HVAC control from the sensing data

About Optimised Spaces

We appreciate the challenges and pressures facilities, estates and engineering teams are under today in delivering a low cost operational building to the business. Which is why we deliver Optimised Well-being as a managed service through the Optimised Bureau.


For a single annual fee we manage the technology, licences, maintenance and data analysis. Our team of Energy Analysts and engineers review your site data and feedback to you in a format that enables action to be taken, ensuring bottom line business results are achieved. Everything that is available to our Energy Analysts is also available to service providers and end-users.