There has been growing awareness of the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) at work. As the global workforce continues to spend a significant amount of their time in built environments, it has become crucial for business leaders to address IAQ. But, should the responsibility for improving IAQ at work be placed solely on employers? 

In this article, we’ll discuss how indoor air quality is not only an employer’s responsibility but a shared duty with employees and a collective effort that benefits everyone in the workplace. 

The Employer’s Role

Employers play a crucial role in ensuring a healthy and safe working environment. This involves implementing proper ventilation systems, regular maintenance of HVAC systems, and using air purifiers to minimize pollutants. Additionally, employers should monitor and regulate factors such as humidity levels, temperature, and the presence of pollutants to maintain optimal IAQ.

Furthermore, employers can educate their workforce on the importance of IAQ fostering a culture of awareness and responsibility, providing training on proper ventilation practices, encouraging regular maintenance of personal workspaces, and promoting a smoke-free environment are essential steps in creating a healthier workplace.

The Employee’s Role

While employers shoulder the primary responsibility for providing a conducive indoor environment, employees also play a crucial role in improving IAQ at work. Here are some ways employees can actively contribute to a healthier workplace:

Promote cleanliness

Employees should take responsibility for maintaining clean workspaces. Regular cleaning of desks, proper disposal of waste, and minimizing clutter can contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

Proper ventilation practices

Employees should be mindful of proper ventilation practices. Avoiding behaviors such as blocking air vents or obstructing airflow ensures that ventilation systems can function optimally, promoting better IAQ.

Report issues promptly

If employees notice any signs of poor IAQ, such as musty odors, mold growth, or discomfort, it is crucial to report these issues promptly to the employer or facilities management. Early detection and resolution can prevent the escalation of IAQ problems.

Personal hygiene

Maintaining personal hygiene, such as washing hands regularly and avoiding smoking indoors, contributes to a cleaner indoor environment and helps prevent the introduction of pollutants.

Participate in IAQ programs

Employers may implement IAQ programs that encourage employee participation. This could involve training sessions, workshops, or campaigns aimed at raising awareness about indoor air quality and fostering a sense of shared responsibility among the workforce.


In the quest for a healthier and more comfortable workplace, it is essential to recognize that IAQ is not solely the responsibility of employers. Both employers and employees must collaborate to create and maintain a conducive indoor environment. By fostering a culture of awareness, promoting responsible behaviors, and actively participating in IAQ initiatives, employees can contribute significantly to improving IAQ at work, to their own well-being and that of their colleagues. Ultimately, embracing IAQ as a shared responsibility enhances the overall quality of work life, promoting productivity and a sense of community within the workplace.

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