UK workers more aware but less worried about IAQ
USA: UK office workers are the most knowledgeable about the factors that contribute to IAQ, the least informed but also the least worried about their own building’s IAQ.
The claims are made in a new survey from Honeywell, which recently polled 3,000 workers in buildings with 500+ workers in Southeast Asia, Germany, India, the Middle East, the UK and the USA.
Honeywell conducted its second annual Healthy Buildings Survey with Wakefield Research to gauge office workers’ perspectives about the air in their facilities. It offers insights into office workers’ expectations and apprehensions as they work in or return to their workplaces – or even contemplate whether they should remain with their current employers.
In stark contrast to the other countries/regions, only 21% of UK workers admitted to being “very or extremely worried” about their building’s IAQ. All the other regions scored higher, with India the most concerned at 55%.
However, the majority of UK workers considered their indoor office air less healthy to breathe than outdoor air. Only just over half (53%) of Indian workers considered their indoor air to be healthier than outdoor air. The figure for the UK was 86%.
The UK worker was also the most aware of the specific factors that affect IAQ, but claimed to know the least about their own building’s IAQ. When presented with a list of factors that affect IAQ, the majority did not know that ventilation, CO2 levels, humidity and temperature all contribute to IAQ. The UK workers scored highest with 49% answering correctly. The Middle East was a close second at 48% and Germany and India both scoring 45%. The ASEAN region workers scored lowest at 34%.
65% of surveyed in-person workers said they considered it “very or extremely important” to be informed about building IAQ and a substantial majority (82%) said they knew at least a little about their building’s IAQ. India and ASEAN claimed the highest levels of knowledge (63% and 48%, respectively), while only 16% of the UK workers claimed to know a lot about their building’s IAQ. Germany (21%) and the USA (22%) were only slightly better informed.
At the other end of the spectrum, 34% of UK workers, 27% of US workers and 25% of German office workers said they had no knowledge about their building’s IAQ.
The survey finds that employees in all regions remain highly concerned about IAQ. They expect their employers and building managers to take measures to protect their health and well-being and keep them apprised of the quality of the air they breathe.
The Covid-19 pandemic curtailed in-person office work in 2020 and 2021, but most workers in the survey are now back at their facilities. Nearly nine in 10 respondents (88%) report they are currently working in a building, either full or part time, with only 12% working remotely full time. Overall, the percentage of in-person workers is up from 83% in 2021. The UK had the lowest number (40%) back working in the office full time. The highest was Germany at 73%.
The report can be viewed and downloaded here.