With the average American working at least eight hours a day, your office may seem like a second home. That’s why for those of us with allergies and asthma, it’s just as important to keep our offices clean and allergen-free as it is our own homes. In honor of May being Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, here are some tips to help employees and employers maintain a comfortable working environment for everyone, ensuring the best productivity possible.
- Clear the clutter: While stacks of paper may seem like the mark of a busy employee, they’re also a great way to collect dust and other particle irritants on your desk. Take some time each week to tidy up your desk area by removing or recycling unnecessary paperwork. Also, view and save documents on your computer and/or company’s shared space to reduce waste.
- Wash your dishes: Busy days are just a part of work life. Regardless of the length of your to-do list, remove dishes and food containers from your desk and wash them as soon as possible. Dirty dishes (especially your coffee cup!) and used food wrappers can be a breeding ground for mold and other allergens.
- Encourage a fragrance-free work environment: Fragrances from perfumes, hand lotions, cleaning products, and more can cause reactions like headaches, nausea, or even asthma attacks.
- Turn off copiers at the end of each work day: Copy machines have a long-standing reputation for emitting ozone, which can cause problems for those with allergies and asthma. In addition to powering these machines down when not in use, make sure any areas where copiers are located are well-ventilated.
- Clean your keyboard: Periodically, clean your keyboard with compressed air to remove dust and other particles that could have become lodged between keys. When cleaning your keyboard, make sure to disconnect it and conduct the cleaning in an area where the debris can be easily removed once you are finished.
- Use an air purifier: Available in a variety of sizes and capacities, air purifiers are agreat way to keep the air in your office free of dust particles, allergens, mold spores, noxious odors, pollen, and more. Air purifiers can be especially useful during pollen season to keep your office’s indoor air comfortable for those with hay fever and other seasonal allergy symptoms.
- Smoke in designated areas only: Cigarette smoke can be especially irritating and harmful to those with allergies and asthma. If your office campus is not entirely smoke-free, ensure that designated smoking areas are properly used.
- Hire a cleaning company that specializes eco-friendly or natural cleaning solutions: It does seem slightly ironic that even the cleaning agents used to keep offices spotless can cause allergy and asthma flare-ups in sensitive individuals. Taking the time to find a cleaning service that offers allergy and asthma solutions is a great way to keep your office clean without sacrificing employee health and comfort.
These are just a few tips to help keep your office free of irritating allergens. What steps do you take at your office to keep the environment comfortable and healthy for yourself and your co-workers?