Indoor air quality plays an integral role in employee health, happiness, and overall morale. Within dispatch centers, proper air quality management holds even greater importance, due to the hours employees put in and need for optimal focus and comfort.
Many materials 'off-gas', which means they release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to our health. Once released, these particulates and chemicals attach themselves to porous materials and dust particles which then are transferred all throughout a space. Exposure can cause irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and skin problems.
At Watson Consoles, air quality is a top priority. We utilize environmentally friendly manufacturing and materials that don’t off-gas, protecting both the air in your dispatch center and the environment.
Importance of Indoor Air Quality
The majority of Americans spend most of their time indoors, making indoor air pollution an important environmental consideration. Poor air quality impacts health, comfort, well being, and productivity. The EPA estimates that the nation loses tens of billions of dollars related to poor air quality each year. In a report to Congress, the EPA concluded that there would be higher productivity and fewer lost workdays if air quality improved.
Numerous factors contribute to indoor air quality, such as:
- Off-gassing materials like furniture, flooring, and paint
- Design, maintenance, and operation of building ventilation
- Moisture and humidity
- Occupant perceptions and susceptibilities
The EPA suggests three main strategies to help control indoor air quality:
- Start with managing the source of pollutants by removing or isolating with physical barriers, air pressure relationships, or timing of use.
- If unable to eliminate or reduce pollutants, use ventilation to remove or dilute.
- Lastly, proper filtration can assist in cleaning the air of any leftover harmful material.
Additionally, encouraging everyone in the building to take responsibility for their everyday actions that affect indoor air quality can help prevent problems from forming. Raising awareness of these simple things will foster a cleaner air environment:
- Do not block air vents or grilles.
- Comply with the office building smoking policy.
- Clean up all water spills promptly, especially in relation to improper watering of plants.
- Dispose of garbage promptly and properly.
- Store food in sealed containers.
These goals can be easily achieved by building awareness and fostering responsibility. It is easy to be unaware of the impact of small actions, but by drawing attention to air quality and the importance of individual actions, you can make a huge impact.
Other Factors Affecting Comfort and Productivity (Air Quality Perception)
An employee’s perception of air quality also plays a considerable role in employee morale and workplace comfort. These environmental and personal factors are not direct causes of poor air quality, but do affect how air quality if perceived:
- Air movement
- Heat and glare from sunlight
- Glare from ceiling lights
- Furniture crowding
- Workspace ergonomics
- Noise and vibration levels
- Selection, location, and use of office equipment
Dispatch centers are in action 24/7. Housing a wide variety of users, these spaces need to offer maximum comfort and focus. Banning perfume, cologne, and other artificial scents, as well as creating systems to control overcrowding, noise and vibration levels, light glare, etc. will help foster a clean air environment and mentality between workers.
Practice Practical Environmentalism
Practical environmentalism and continuous improvement are guiding principles at Watson Consoles, driving our goal of having as little environmental impact as possible.
Choosing ethically sourced, quality materials helps both the environment and the performance level of your dispatch center. Protecting the team from the effects of harmful air quality helps maintain optimal performance levels. In a high-stress environment where timeliness and accuracy are essential, it is critical to have a workspace that keeps everyone at their best.
It is easier to keep harmful pollutants out of your dispatch center than to remove them once they are already there. Consider the impact of everything before it goes in. Things like carpeting, dispatch consoles, and even paint can play a huge role. Eliminate part of the problem by choosing Watson Consoles. Using 100% recyclable steel, 100% reclaimed textiles, NAF (No Added Formaldehyde) wood, non-toxic, no PVC banding, and no VOCS laminate and adhesive our products are the right first step in providing dispatch operators with clean indoor air.