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Honeywell global survey finds 72% of office workers doubt buildings' IAQ

March 2, 2022
3 out of 4 surveyed across six international regions said they consider indoor air less healthy to breathe than outdoor air. 9 out of 10 want to be kept informed of their building's air quality, yet only 15% receive regular updates.

According to new research commissioned by Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON), and documented in a major research report released by the company in February, nearly three out of four surveyed office workers expressed concern about their building's indoor air quality (IAQ).

The new report, entitled, "Workplace Air Quality: A Global Concern Emerges," presents the findings of from Honeywell's second annual Healthy Buildings Survey, which the company reports recently queried 3,000 office workers in buildings with 500-plus workers in ASEAN, Germany, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The report findings show that surveyed employees in all regions worry about the impact of poor air quality on their well-being and want more information from their employers.

Methodology

The Honeywell Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 3,000 office workers in buildings of 500-plus workers in six markets – ASEAN, Germany, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States – between December 17, 2021, and January 11, 2022, using an email invitation and an online form.

As duly noted per a Wakefield Research representative: "Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample."

Critical IAQ concern

The report provides comparisons across markets and facility types, including office buildings, hospitals, airports, schools and hotels. An overwhelming majority (89%) of those surveyed agreed that the quality of air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and well-being.

However, about two-thirds (62%) of those surveyed said they receive updates about IAQ only occasionally – or never – and just 15% receive real-time updates. More than six in 10 (62%) said they would be ready to leave their job if their employer doesn't take steps to create a healthier indoor environment.

Nearly all (98%) of those surveyed said they believe safe IAQ provides at least one health benefit: better overall physical health (62%); fewer allergies, less sneezing and coughing (60%); less exposure to airborne contaminants (57%); better overall mental health (53%); and improved productivity and problem-solving (43%).

Yet few respondents across any of the markets said they get regular updates on their building's air quality.

IAQ disconnects

Nearly all (90%) of surveyed workers considered it at least somewhat important to be kept informed of their building's air quality. This includes 65% who considered it very or extremely important.

According to the research, while almost a third (29%) of surveyed C-level executives said they receive frequent updates, only 13% of non-C-level workers said they are actively informed.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of lower-level workers said they receive updates rarely, never or only sometimes at best.

About two in five respondents (41%) could accurately identify all the factors that contribute to indoor air quality.

More than a third (36%) did not know that CO2 level factors into IAQ, and 41% were unaware that humidity plays a part.

Doug Wright, president and CEO, Honeywell Building Technologies, observed:

"These findings suggest that workers in every region are aware that indoor air quality can affect their well-being and expect employers to take action – both to improve IAQ and keep them better informed. In a competitive labor market, demonstrating an effort to create a healthier work environment can be an advantage in attracting and retaining employees. Every dollar invested in upgrading workplace air quality, monitoring IAQ data, and communicating it to employees, is a dollar strategically spent."

Read the full report, "Workplace Air Quality: A Global Concern Emerges," from Honeywell and Wakefield Research.

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