Do you run an office? Have you just run your quarterly reports and found that the productivity of your business has taken a dive? Before you go laying off help and slashing spending, try having a mold inspection done. While this may sound silly, mold can play a big role in how well your employees are able to do their job. Read on to learn more.
A Bit About Sick Building Syndrome
Sick building syndrome is a condition in which the indoor air quality of a building brings fatigue and/or sickness to those who enter it. No specific illness can be linked to those who experience the effects of sick building syndrome, and symptoms usually subside immediately upon them leaving the affected building. The condition has been linked to a variety of causes including poor ventilation, industrial chemical use, and volatile compounds; but the leading cause of sick building syndrome is black mold.
If your office has been affected by sick building syndrome, productivity may be down because your employees simply aren't feeling well enough to effectively do their jobs.
Signs To Watch For
Employees affected by sick building syndrome usually don't call in sick to work because before they arrive at the office, they feel just fine. If your workers are showing up in the morning but requesting to leave partway through the day, however, it could be a sign of mold-induced indoor air quality issues. There are a plethora of symptoms that you may witness your employees experiencing if your office is affected; they include but are not limited to eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, headaches, fatigue, respiratory problems, and peculiar taste and odor sensations.
Steps To Take
If you believe that much of your staff is experiencing symptoms associated with sick building syndrome, here is what you need to do.
Seek Mold Remediation. Mold growth isn't always readily apparent, but it could be growing within the walls or ceiling of your office. A mold inspector can detect hidden mold with a borescope that allows them to view inside the walls, and they also have other tools such as moisture meters and air testing kits that help them find difficult-to-detect mold growth.
If mold is detected, your mold specialist will isolate the area and clean it. Depending on the severity of the problem, they may need to remove affected building material to completely eliminate the mold. To prevent yourself and your employees from inhaling dangerous mold spores, schedule mold remediation for after operational hours or on the weekend.
Create Unfavorable Conditions For Mold. After your mold remediation, your mold specialist will discuss with you the cause of the problem. Moisture is the major culprit in black mold growth, and the excess moisture in your office could be coming from an obvious source such as a leaking pipe or roof, or it could be the result of improper ventilation. To prevent future problems, you'll need to fix the source of extra moisture so mold will no longer be able to thrive in your office environment.
Buy A Hygrometer. After your mold specialist has removed the mold in your office and you've fixed the underlying cause of it, it's a good idea to invest in a hygrometer -- a device that measures the humidity in the air. The inside of your office should measure between 25 and 55 percent relative humidity. Check your hygrometer diligently and if at any time the humidity rises above 55 percent, you know you've got a problem and you can seek out the source of the excess moisture before the problem worsens and mold begins to grow again.
If you've recently discovered that productivity is down at your office, schedule an appointment for mold remediation before taking drastic measures to save your business. There is a chance that the productivity reports you've generated are the result of mold growing within your office walls and causing your employees to be less effective at their job than they used to be.