Healthy Buildings Survey Reveals Increasing IAQ Concerns

The Healthy Buildings Survey takes a closer look at worker’s perceptions and feelings on the health and safety of their workspaces.

healthy building
Photo by Adobe Stock

The third annual Healthy Buildings Survey from Honeywell found that more than two in five (43%) surveyed office workers are very or extremely worried about their building’s indoor air quality (IAQ).

The study, conducted by Wakefield Research, surveyed 2,500 workers in Germany, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and the United States. While nearly three in four respondents (73%) express some degree of worry about their workplace’s IAQ, 43% of those surveyed say they’re very or extremely worried—a seven-point increase over last year’s results.

“One of the most surprising findings looks at how U.S. office workers feel about the health and wellness of their workplace as we approach the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Manish Sharma, Vice President and General Manager of Sustainable Buildings, Honeywell. “The survey found that 88% of respondents in the United States think that a company limiting investment in indoor air quality (IAQ) technology shows a low commitment to employee safety and well-being.”

This year’s survey also posed questions on sustainability, which disclosed that 38% of respondents feel their employer should be prioritizing both better IAQ and reducing the carbon footprint for their building, compared to 22% of respondents who say better IAQ should be prioritized or 40% of respondents who say to prioritize reducing the building’s carbon footprint.

“The Healthy Building survey found that a surprising number of U.S. office workers care about their building’s environmental impact: 81% consider it very or extremely important that their employer take steps to reduce their workplace’s carbon footprint,” said Sharma. “Other compelling statistics: 91% of U.S. respondents would give up at least one job perk or benefit if the funds were reinvested in reducing their building’s carbon footprint—including an eye-opening 28% who would give up part of their salary or bonus.”

Workers Expectations For Healthy Buildings

The Healthy Building Survey provides comparisons across the five markets, including the following highlights:

• More than nine in 10 (93%) say they have higher expectations for IAQ in their workplace than they did three years ago.

• Nearly all respondents (97%) believe good IAQ improves their productivity, including 68% who say it contributes a lot. This average is tilted upward by surveyed workers in the Middle East, where 80% believe it contributes a lot, as well as by C-suite workers across all markets (84%).

• Nearly all surveyed (99%) agree that safe IAQ promotes at least one health-related bene-fit, including better overall physical health (59%), better overall mental health (56%), fewer allergic reactions such as sneezing and coughing (51%) and fewer airborne contaminants (46%).

• Surveyed workers are nearly unanimous (97%) in saying they would take action if their employer didn’t make an effort to maintain a healthy indoor environment: 57% would speak with their supervisor or leadership; 36% would rally fellow workers and collectively raise the issue; 34% would ask to work remotely; and more than one in five (21%) would look for another job.

• While 40% of respondents across all markets say their employer should prioritize improving IAQ over reducing their building’s carbon footprint, 22% want employers to prioritize the latter.

“U.S. respondents in particular show greater concern for both their own and their planet’s health, putting pressure on employers, building operators and owners to take notice that occupants are likely to expect a more sustainable building and improved office air quality,” said Sharma. “These two needs no longer need to be viewed as mutually exclusive options as there are ready now solutions to make this a reality.”

Click here for more information about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).