Work and the working environment are obviously an important part of everyday life, as in the workplace an employee spends at least a quarter of his / her day – sometimes – or in some cases – more than half his / of the day.
Work can be an important source of satisfaction, energy and fullness, even if it is accompanied by physical and / or mental fatigue.
A fatigue that is pleasant, complete and is usually followed by a sense of well-being and meaningful rest – an integrated cycle. But what if this fatigue is ‘bitter’, sterile and emotionally draining?
Sometimes this can happen because of the negative work environment and not because of this work object. What is the arbejdsmiljø? It is everything that surrounds us and everything that surrounds us during our work.
The working environment is made up of us and our colleagues. The work environment is the space – whether internal or external – where we are when we work. This may be office, home, car, field.
The place that we spend most of our day however, can influence us either physically or psychologically.
In our days, there are workers who spend much of their lives in an unhealthy environment and come into contact with harmful and dangerous substances. And I’m not talking about professions really very hard and dangerous, like the miners. Most farmers who come into contact with pesticides, many industries and lab workers, even those working in gas stations, hairdressing salons and cleaners, are exposed daily to poisonous substances. People who are professional drivers and being exposed to traffic chaos and the streets’ condition are not considered to work under a healthy environment.
There are also other occupations, that have milder physical side effects, yet they cause chronic annoyances. It is not so healthy to spend hours sitting in front of a computer screen or being 8 hours upright, and it also affects, often severe enough.
In all the above cases, it is obvious that health problems may arise are due to the bad arbejdsmiljø.There are illnesses and annoyances, which are not always as clear as their cause.
The causes of a large part of the pathological phenomena that are affecting the users of modern buildings exist in the building materials themselves, either due to their internal composition or due to their production processes or due to the final treatment they undergo.
Finally, for Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) there are conflicting views from scientists, as this is a phenomenon that is not fully understood.
The Sick Building Syndrome
The syndrome involves a series of symptoms, often unclear, that is observed in users of modern office buildings for most of the time but have also been reported for school buildings, libraries, and museums.
These symptoms are irritation of the eyes and throat, nausea or a runny nose, dry or irritated skin and pruritus, headaches and dizziness, nausea, breathing problems and chest pain, lethargy and/or fatigue, difficulty concentrating.
Symptoms occur individually or in combination and vary from day to day. Individuals working in the same arbejdsmiljø may experience different symptoms each, which either improve or retreat completely a few hours or days after they leave the building.
All over the past decades, many researchers have tried to identify what causes the syndrome. So far they have not come to a specific cause. Most experts believe that the syndrome is the result of a combination of various factors such as:
poor ventilation of buildings, usually artificial and not natural
air-conditioned buildings with high temperature (over 23 degrees Celsius) and low humidity or daytime fluctuations airborne particles such as dust, fabric and carpet fibers and fungi
volatile pollutants such as cleaners and furniture or ozone emanating from photocopiers and printers
inadequate cleanliness and poor maintenance of the arbejdsmiljø
inappropriate lighting in conjunction with poor-quality computer screens
bad working environment
Everyone can suffer from the syndrome, but those who are most vulnerable to this syndrome are office employees who work in an air-conditioned arbejdsmiljø, without natural ventilation and proper illumination, poorly maintained and dirty.
In naturally ventilated buildings, although often the temperature and ventilation conditions are not appropriate, the proportion of workers who suffer is less.
Also, although various chemicals (volatile organic compounds) have been associated with symptoms in individual buildings, none have shown to be the cause of the syndrome in a large number of buildings.
Finally, it has been observed that symptoms are more common and more intense in anxious and disgruntled workers and more generally in people who feel unable to change the situation in their arbejdsmiljø.
To sum up, two are the main reasons why we may feel that we are getting sick workplace is our removal from the natural environment and the stressful working conditions we work under, of course.
Improving the above-mentioned conditions (ventilation and cleanliness) combined with the ability to adapt lighting and temperature to each individual worker, seem to have positive results in some cases.
Having seen the impact of a poor working environment on employee performance and, by extension, on their profits, many large companies have begun to take seriously the possibility of designing their buildings under new circumstances. They now understand, of course, that we need to live and work in the most natural and harmonious environment and that the most important is to stay healthy.
The Green Building Effect
The concept of a green building refers to a building that uses few exhausting natural resources and produces few gaseous, liquid and solid pollutants. An office building can be characterized as “green” when it achieves a significant reduction in its negative impact on the environment while offering comfort and functionality to the staff, as well as the cost of ownership to the owner. better ventilation, good lighting, and heating greatly improve the performance of employees, which greatly enhances their productivity. Research has also shown that handsome design can make workers happier.
The most important thing is that everyone deserves to have high-quality standards regardless the type of his work.This will make us better emplyees, satisfied employees but also happy people.