The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we look at shared spaces and recirculated air. While airborne diseases are not a new threat, the global health crisis caused by the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus is unprecedented.
As a result, many employers and building owners are thinking about their HVAC systems and air ventilation methods in a new light. At the start of the pandemic, many companies opted to transition to virtual alternatives and encouraged employees to work from home. Now, as COVID case numbers begin to decline and businesses reopen in many states, employers are faced with a new set of questions and concerns.
In order to prioritize the safety of staff and customers, businesses must adjust their processes—and in some cases their infrastructure—to limit the spread of COVID-19 within their buildings. Office buildings are particularly vulnerable because of the high occupancy, shared air and lack of natural ventilation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a set of recommendations for protecting the health and safety of office building occupants. Some of these guidelines include:
- Before re-occupying an office building that has been vacant, ensure that it is ready for occupancy by checking for hazards such as mold and pests.
- Test ventilation systems in the facility to make sure they are working properly. This is especially true for building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that have been shut down or on setback for an extended period of time.
- Adjust seating or workstations to ensure employees are able to stay at least 6 feet apart while conducting business. If distancing is not an option, install transparent shields to provide a buffer between employees, customers and visitors.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly.
- Require daily health screenings, such as temperature checks, and ask employees or customers who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay at home.
- Install portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove pathogens and particles from the air.
Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.