Sick Employee

Employee absenteeism is one of the most costly issues in today’s workplaces. Every time an employee fails to show up for work, the company’s bottom line suffers.

Absenteeism is defined as an employee’s deliberate failure to show up at work. When one employee is absent, the entire workforce suffers. The ripple effect doubles other employees’ workloads and increases their stress and resentment. Managers and supervisors are affected similarly.

In this post, learn how one simple action on your part—cleaning your workplace air ducts!—can lower employee stress, raise productivity, and improve profits.

Employee Absenteeism Costs & Causes

As of a few years ago, the Conference Board of Canada estimated the annual aggregate cost of absenteeism to be in the neighborhood of $16.6 billion.

For full-time employees, this represents an average absenteeism rate of 9.3 days per worker (full-time).

Why do your employees deliberately miss work? If you are not sure why, you are not the only one. Less than half of all Canadian employers currently track absenteeism reasons and rates in their workforce.

Before you can begin to document how employee absence affects your bottom line, however, you need to know the most common causes for employee absenteeism.

By far the most common reason is depression (15 percent workforce-wide). But what is so interesting here is that depression is known to stem from many of the other reasons for absenteeism, including increased stress, low morale, chronic pain, illness, and issues at home (children, elders, partners, life balance).

A newer form of absenteeism, called “presentism,” is what occurs when an employee does show up for work in body but is absent in mind and motivation. This tends to have a similar effect on the company bottom line and fellow workers.

But there is one very bright light at the end of this admittedly grim tunnel: a reduction in absenteeism of ONE SINGLE DAY per employee per year can potentially improve your bottom line by 22.7 percent.

How Toxic Indoor Air Affects Absenteeism

According to Canada’s Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, up to 47 percent of all employee absenteeism issues can be traced back to physical illness.

From here, incidents of workplace accidents, unproductivity, and worker mistakes all can be seen to rise correspondingly.

Of the reported reasons for absenteeism due to physical illness, respiratory illness was reported in 31 percent of cases.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that indoor air supply is often up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air of equivalent measures. While many of the pollutants are the same, it is what happens to them when they come indoors and get trapped in the air systems that makes them more dangerous to human health.

When the workplace includes manufacturing processes that require the use of potentially toxic chemicals or by-products, this effect increases.

It is not surprising, then, to find a link between the 47 percent of employees who are absent from work due to self-reported physical health reasons!

Yes, Dirty Air Ducts Cause Employee Illness

Your commercial air duct system is linked to your central HVAC unit. The air ducts then carry temperature-controlled air to all the work spaces in your facility.

Where problems occur is when your air ducts become clogged with toxins over time. These toxins often enter the building from outdoors and can include dust, mould spores, fungi, ozone, bacteria, mites, smog, pollen, animal dander, and more.

As well, toxins are being generated indoors on a daily basis. Most of these toxins come from tobacco use, harsh chemical cleaning products, by-products from manufacturing activities, chemically formulated air fresheners, carbon monoxide, mildew and mould, and others.

As these toxins all come together in the indoor air supply, air filters can take care of the larger particle matter (so long as you are also replacing your air filters at least on a monthly basis).

It is the finer particulate matter that can be so hazardous to human respiratory health, and fatally so over longer periods of exposure. Only HEPA-rated air filtration systems can even come close to keeping these tiny particulates out of the indoor air supply (up to a level of HEPA-rated filtration system>99.97 percent)

Many of the toxins get caught in the dust and debris that builds up inside your air ducts. If you peered inside the duct system today, you might be shocked by how little clear space you could actually see due to the buildup!

In time, some of the air ducts can even become completely blocked, which means that: a) what little air that does get through is toxic, and b) this can lead to higher heating/cooling bills and uneven air distribution throughout your building. It’s also a fire hazard.

The most common respiratory issues that arise from toxic indoor air and dirty, blocked air ducts include these:

  • Allergies
  • Occupational asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung disease
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic coughing and sneezing
  • Dry eyes and runny nose
  • Sinus headaches and congestion
  • Nausea and fatigue

How an Air Duct Cleaning Treatment Works

In many cases, a complete air duct cleaning treatment can be done in one workday (or over a weekend if that makes more sense for your business).

During the cleaning, your air duct system is completely vacuumed out, clearing away all trapped toxins in a single treatment. At the same time, your air filters are changed and, if you wish, can be replaced with a HEPA-rated filtration system to improve indoor air quality.

Your building HVAC unit and ventilation system can be inspected and maintained at the same time, if you choose. If you use any commercial laundry facilities on site, you may also wish to have your dryer vents professionally cleaned to remove the remainder of the trapped toxins.

In this way, your employees will return to work the next day to fresh, toxin-free, productivity-enhancing indoor air!

Clean Air Solutions Can Help Improve Your Office’s Air Quality

Contact us online or by phone at 905-544-2470 for a free consultation about your office’s air quality.

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