Since the pandemic, businesses have faced the challenges of navigating how to prepare employees to return to the office.
Many are finding some stability with the pandemic through adopting the hybrid work approach – offering their employees the flexibility to work at home or the office.
Especially since working remotely is not compulsory under the Red traffic light setting, businesses can give their employees a choice. Although many New Zealand businesses have sent their staff home, some large corporates like ASB, ANZ and CBRE started operating under a more hybrid system allowing a limited number of their staff to work in the office under strict protocols.
Despite this many businesses still have difficulties convincing their staff to return to the office. According to a poll conducted by Citrix, 80% of employees prefer to work in a hybrid way, and more than 70% chose to work remotely.
It’s not surprising that employees are anxious and hesitant to return to the office, especially with the increasing cases of the Omicron variant in the community.
One way business leaders can improve the appeal of returning to the office is by equipping the office with technology that ensures employees are protected from Covid-19 transmissions.
Improving air ventilation can reduce the risk of the virus spreading indoors
The latest advice from the Ministry of Health pertaining to the Covid-19 Omicron variant is to continue keeping indoor rooms well-ventilated where possible.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus is higher in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces where people spend long periods of time together in close proximity.
The concentration of viral particles is higher indoors than outdoors, where the wind can rapidly reduce concentrations, resulting in SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spreading easily indoors.
For buildings without ventilation systems, simply opening windows increases clean air delivery and dilutes potential viral contaminants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the carbon dioxide (CO2) level stay below 800ppm as much as possible to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Businesses can use air purifiers to give additional protection for buildings that can't achieve the recommended ventilation level.
Air purifiers are designed to filter the air and reduce air pollutants. They contain a fan that pushes air through the filter and traps the air contaminants that passes through them.
SARS-CoV-2 is around 1 micrometre (μm) and usually doesn't travel by air itself. Instead, these viral particles are human-generated and transmitted through respiratory droplets that are 5 μm in size and larger particles.
High-Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filters are 99.97% efficient at capturing particles at 0.3 μm in size. Ideally, air purifiers with HEPA filters can effectively capture human-generated particles associated with SARS-CoV-2 and are a preferred option for auxiliary air cleaning.
How to effectively use air purifiers
The University of Otago recommends placing air purifiers in a location where they can process as much air as possible to work effectively.
Ideally, it should be in the centre of the room, at table height, and at least 1 metre away from walls, curtains or furniture. Place the air purifier away from open windows, as it unnecessarily filters relatively clean air from the outside or blows the clean air out of the room.
If there is more than one person in the room, the air purifier should be left on continuously with the highest fan setting.
When choosing an air purifier, select a unit appropriately sized for the area intended. This is usually based on the airflow through the unit, which is identified by cubic feet per minute (cfm).
Furthermore, businesses should consider air purifiers that at least have one of the following:
- High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) to H13 level or better
- CADR rated
- Ability to remove particle-sized below 1 μm
It can become overwhelming when deciding which air purifier have the best features to trap bacteria or can effectively filter the air in your office space. To help you make the right choice, our team has curated a list of air purifiers from recommended and trusted brands.
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Philips Air Purifiers
Philips Air Purifiers help remove viruses, allergens, aerosols and pollutants in your office for cleaner, healthier air.
Stock is limited, so we encourage pre-orders to secure your supply.
TruSens Air Purifiers
TruSens air purifiers eliminate 99.99% of airborne coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) in your office.*
*Results from independent third-party testing using aerosolised airborne concentration of human coronavirus 229E over a two-hour period in a sealed 30m3 test chamber. HCoV-229e is a well-established surrogate for SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
Dyson Air Purifiers
Dyson air purifiers are sealed to HEPA H13 standard*, removing 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns.**
To prevent pollutants from leaking back into the air, it's not just the filter that's sealed to HEPA H13 standard*, it's the whole purifier. So, what goes inside, stays inside.
*Particle challenge by DEHS oil specified in EN1822 within a chamber specified in ASTM F3150. Tested in Max Mode at IBR US, for whole machine efficiency above 99.95%.
** Tested for filtration efficiency at 0.1 microns (EN1822, ISO29463).
Samsung Air Purifiers
Samsung Air Purifiers contain HEPA filtration that removes 99.97% of 0.3 μm ultra-fine dust, inhibits the spread of captured bacteria, and removes certain harmful gases from your building.
The multi-purification system has 3 key steps: A washable pre-filter, a carbon deodorisation filter, and a HEPA filter.
Xiaomi Air Purifiers
Xiaomi Pro Air Purifier optimises the air pressurized system and creates a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) up to 500m3/h, meaning that it purifies 500 cubic metres of air particles per hour.