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Seven ways to reduce office pollution

Does your head ache and your eyes burn after a long day at the office?  If so, it could easily be because of the invisible pollution in your environment.

Research is increasingly pointing to electrosmog, ozone, noise and hypercharged dust motes as a health hazard. Avoiding these in a modern office is virtually impossible, but there are some simple – and cheap – ways to make your workplace more bearable. And yes, one of them really is a clean desk policy.

Spic’n’span

If after reading the previous lines, you were keen to absorb some high-tech ideas on how to reduce electrical waste in your workspace, you were wrong. The alpha and the omega of all sorts of cleanliness begin with a good ol’ cleaning. So long as you keep visible dirt out, you will have far less trouble with it invisible cousin. Dust and dirt become charged by our electronic devices, so by wiping your desk regularly or dusting your computer at least once a week, electrical dust will stay away as well.

Work in a green office

When we say green it, we mean it. Literally. Obviously, you don’t have to create a greenhouse on the fourth floor of a multi-story building, but placing a few plants (more than the average number of greens) in the office can really do miracles. Not only do plants clean and filter the air of the office thoroughly and naturally, they also reduce stress by creating a closer-to-nature atmosphere. Just look at how new offices are designed: with large open spaces and small indoor gardens.  Certain species counteract air pollution more effectively than others, so consult with your local gardener.

Dry is dirty

When trying to tackle complex issues such as electrical pollution, often the most foolproof ideas turn out to be the best. Have you, for instance, thought of putting a simple humidifier into operation? Oh, you didn’t realize it could work with invisible dirt too? Yet it does, quite effectively. We will spare you long hours of reading about the reasons by giving a simple example. Think about a dust storm in the desert when millions of dust particles float in the air. And now, imagine what a simple shower does with all that dust. An air-cleaner with an excellent price-to-value ratio for any office.

Electric pollution filters

To those perfectionists who get shocked by the mere sight of a speck of dust, heavy armory (meaning high-technology) devices are the answer. These days there are quite a number of filters and special devices on the market. Filters can be effective to end the circulation of electrical pollution into offices. However, you may need an expert for their setup as well as regular maintenance, as sometimes they don’t function adequately. This can happen when the neutral conductor isn’t right. (The filters route harmful electrical pollution high frequencies to the neutral. If the filters are not working properly, it may not be the filter but the neutral.) If you encounter problems, contact your utility company.

Keep them out!

No matter how highly developed the methods you use, you won’t be able to clear your office of electrical polluters as long as you have electronic devices in them. Open-space office designs make it hard for many to keep printers, photocopiers and computers out of their working area, but it would be worth a try. Remember those movies where employees went to a separate room to do the copying? Well, that is a great example to follow. If it is not feasible, at least servers should be kept outside. In an ideal case, they would be stored in a separate building, as electrical pollution is not caused by the actual power itself, but what comes along with it in transfer and production. This is why it is also possible for the electricity in your office to be polluted by outside and close-by sources, such as neighbors, or through an internal electrical system.

Silence, please

Background noise may actually be the number one reason for headaches in the office. Acoustic design is a regretfully neglected aspect of office ergonomics. The need to block out external noise is obvious to everyone, but the disturbing echoes in a conference room are also a burden on the ability to concentrate and thereby increase stress. As a solution, use as many soft surfaces as possible, such as thick carpeting, containers that absorb noise and sound-absorbent panels on walls and ceilings. The paneling can be applied any time, allowing you to choose from a wide array of modules in appealing shapes and colors. These can be easily applied with velcro, making cleaning easier in the future.

Energy: save it when you can

Let’s face it, for all that we know it is important to save energy, we still  waste it, especially when we are not at home. Keeping the computer on during a marathon meeting or not switching the lights off after leaving the ladies’ room are just a few examples. If you aren’t committed to energy saving for the sake of the environment, you should do so for your own profit. By turning everything off, you can prevent or decrease electrostatic fields which attract excessive dirt and dust. You can also decrease noise pollution – not to mention your company’s utility bill.