Going to get up early, spend eight hours (hopefully) at work, recover routines … That, and nothing else is what makes most of September a little uphill. Although the idea of post-vocational depression is completely inaccurate (depression is a very serious clinical illness, and this is not), it can not be denied that a bit of a downturn is.
Going back to work centers can be even more difficult if our office suffers from the so-called sick building syndrome , a name used to describe a set of symptoms that can be suffered by those who work inside it and are not always easy to identify. .
Hundreds of workers are wrong
It was in the late 70’s when this phenomenon began to be named . Hundreds of workers from Western countries began to suffer from ailments or discomfort whose intensity seemed related to the amount of time they spent in their places of work .
Symptoms varied: headache, dizziness, nausea, eye and throat irritation, dry cough, dry skin and itching, trouble concentrating, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, aphonia, allergies, colds and flu symptoms, higher incidence of attacks of asthma … No specific disease seemed to be causing those symptoms, it was more of a malaise .
In 1983, it was the World Health Organization that named the problem, creating the term sick building syndrome . He also estimated that between 10 and 30% of new office buildings had problems of poor ventilation.
Ventilation, light, temperature …
That is one of the factors that is considered responsible for these symptoms, although it is not the only one. The contamination by chemicals such as paints, cleaning products, printer inks, as well as from abroad as a result of heavy traffic; the biological contamination coming from bacteria, microbes and especially fungi that can proliferate in the least ventilated places; intense noise levels and bad acoustics ; one insufficient light or inadequate and the lack of natural light, a temperature higher or lower than the right, little ergonomic chairs and positions that last for too many hours followed …
This is a difficult problem to solve, since both the causes and the symptoms are not very specific . For this reason, in some countries such as the United Kingdom , health authorities ask workers who believe they suffer it to consult with their office colleagues to see if they suffer from it.
What companies should do
If so, they recommend companies take the following measures to investigate and address a possible case of sick building syndrome.
- Do a survey among employees to find out which symptoms are occurring more than usual, which can help identify and solve the cause (improve lighting, adjust the temperature better …).
- Make a general review of the cleanliness of the building , with special emphasis on the appliances used. A vacuum cleaner that does not work properly may be key to the problem.
- Make sure that the cleaning materials are used and stored correctly.
- Make a check of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems .
- Especially inspect air filters, humidifiers and cooling towers . According to the recommendations of the British Ministry of Health, a percentage of humidity between 40 and 70% should be maintained inside the offices.
- Review and update if necessary the maintenance programs of the office, and make sure that they are correctly fulfilled.
In short, and since the return to work and the office is for many inevitable, it occurs in the best situation so as not to affect our well-being.