It might seem like a long time ago that the first waves of Covid-19 made their first devastating impact on America and the rest of the world. Although the initial panic and waves might be over, we have all gotten used to the idea that the virus is here to stay. With most restrictions and COVID precautions relaxed, it doesn’t mean we shouldn't still be concerned about Covid-19.
New Covid variants continue to emerge that are more transmissible and more easily able to evade antibodies, the most recent of these being the XBB.1.5 variant which - at the time of writing - currently makes up around 28% of US COVID-19 cases. And even though the world population will keep building up immunity to new variants, the virus's mutations will continue to develop.
With schools and workplaces on a semi- “back to normal” mode, - it’s inevitable that Covid will continue to make an impact. But there are simple and sensible measures building owners and managers can take to reduce the impact of Covid-19 and its perpetual sub-variants will have in the workplace.
The short- and long-term impact that Covid has had on businesses and the working population and the strain on employees' physical and mental well-being are felt across all industries. From rises in absenteeism, and staff shortages, to a higher expectancy of flexible working and demand for improved working environments.
Long Covid is also taking skilled and talented employees out of the workforce to the extent of a $3.7 trillion hit to the economy. At a conservative estimate, it was reported that 2 to 4 million people are out of work due to long Covid. A figure that’s potentially set to get worse as more people contract the virus.
In 2021, record numbers of employees also quit their jobs in the wake of the pandemic, dubbed “The Great Resignation,” and this movement continues. Although Covid-19 and long Covid is undoubtedly not the only source of shifting labor markets, it’s an essential factor that has accelerated a long-term trend within the employment sector. Therefore all industries need to develop the best strategies for moving with the times to protect their employees, tenants, and businesses.
The latest poll data from Gallup in October 2022 indicated that 26% of U.S. employees are worried about getting Covid-19 at work. When looking at hybrid workers who work both in and outside the office, that figure was higher at 31%. After the shock of the pandemic and the inevitable raised awareness of how easy it is for illnesses to spread in confined environments, this worry is understandable.
This winter, the vast number of cases amongst the population of Covid and other respiratory viruses like RSV are also disrupting many, if not most, US businesses. Awareness of the risks of catching illnesses at work remains on heightened alert.
One of the most obvious ways to protect employees and businesses from the continued impact of Covid is to improve indoor air quality, making it more difficult for pathogens like Covid, RSV, and the Flu to propagate and spread among people in the workplace.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is to install an Induct air filtration system into an existing HVAC system that can provide building wait air purification coverage.
Providing safe, clean air doesn’t just keep employees from getting sick or help employees with long Covid or associated health issues return to the workplace. It also encourages employees to feel more comfortable working in the office than they would otherwise - an important factor considering the growing reluctance amongst employees to commit to office-based employment.
The clear benefits of better indoor air quality are documented and include a reduction in illness and absenteeism and an improvement in employees’ mental health, cognition, and productivity. Improvements that all make offices a generally more excellent place to be.
Often, buildings don’t have adequate air filtration systems or are unaware of how to safely and effectively change or upgrade them. As there are differences in air filtration capability in HVAC systems that can significantly impact indoor air quality, the correct system must be chosen to see the most beneficial results.
Luckily there is a wide choice of air filtration technologies available now, making it easier to find custom solutions that fit the infrastructure, usage, and occupancy of a building, from portable air purifiers to integrated systems like Induct Guardian, which can be installed into any existing HVAC ductwork.
Contact us today for advice on the best air purification systems and solutions to protect your business and employees from illnesses such as Covid, Flu, and RSV.
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