Today more and more people within organizations suffer from physical ailments such as allergies, headaches, eye fatigue, numbness in hands and legs, respiratory problems, among other symptoms; which contribute to impoverishing the health of those who suffer from it, if preventive measures are not taken in time. Such is the case with the Sick Building Syndrome, also known as The Sick Office Syndrome.
What is the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the Sick Building Syndrome is a group of diseases caused or stimulated by air pollution in closed spaces. This happens in most cases, since the basic workplace hygiene and spatial protocols are not usually respected in their entirety.
The main problem of not taking care of SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) on time are the serious consequences that this could bring to employees who must be exposed to long working hours inside those buildings. It is expected that this results in an increase in the degree of non-conformity, as well as an increase in the rate of absenteeism, and a considerable decrease in labor productivity.
How can Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) be prevented?
We want to propose a series of steps to put into practice in organizations. This will not only improve employee’s work performance, but will also help them feel better with themselves, experience healthier emotions, and ultimately improve their personal satisfaction.
Our recommendations are based on studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Dyson. The 5 steps to prevent ESS are:
1. Purification of the environment
Getting the spaces to have some type of humidifier is essential as an environmental control system. Especially in cold and dry climates, or if the air that comes from outside is polluted, as is often the case in big cities.
Even the “white noise” from air purifiers often has a relaxing effect on people.
2. Sound blocking
Silence is one of the keys to increasing concentration and optimizing performance capacity.
In turn, relaxing sounds, such as nature sounds, or classical-instrumental music, are scientifically proven to help induce a state of relaxation and stillness in people. Therefore, it is essential to take into account the sounds that workers are exposed to.
3. Vacuum regularly with HEPA filters
Carpets, floors and textiles are usually sources of accumulation of polluting factors. Which could be a risk mainly for people who are allergic or prone to manifest some type of allergy.
Therefore, proper daily hygiene with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which traps dust particles, pollen, and other allergens before they can be released into the air could be of great benefit.
4. Avoidance of the use of antibacterials
Antibacterial chemicals like triclosan and triclocarban mimic the body’s hormones and can be harmful to one’s health and can help build resistance to antibacterial drugs.
Using natural products, with neutral pH, can contribute to preserving the health of employees.
5. Maintain good lighting
A “sick” home or building is affected by the quality of light, as it directly influences our health.
Lighting that is closer to nature is perfect for reading or working. It is important to preserve natural light from windows and ceilings, as much as possible, within organizations.
It is important to mention that employees who are subjected to high levels of stress will be more vulnerable and likely to be affected by the consequences of SEE, since they will be more susceptible to exposure to environmental risk factors.
At Wemby, we have a team of professionals trained to detect, advise and accompany workers who may be suffering.
We are aware that where there are happy employees, there is a successful company.
About the Author
Hi there! I am María Laura Gonzalez, therapeutic guide and specialist in oriental techniques: Teacher of Yoga, Guided Meditation and Mindfulness; I am a writer for the media on related topics. I have provided my services for many years in multinational companies, in public organizations and in NGOs. I’ve traveled and trained both in India and in the USA, learning from the greatest teachers in the most reputable yoga schools.
All this journey of self-knowledge and teaching has deeply shaped my personality and my purpose in life.
Currently I provide services to the Community of Madrid, the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, and other companies dedicated to well-being and meditation, as well as I have my private practice as a guide and holistic therapeutic counselor, in the Barrio de Salamanca, in Madrid.
If you do not find me working, helping or creating new ideas, you will find me studying since I am in my last year of psychology, my second undergraduate degree.