Article: Why toxic workplace is a big no & how corporates are curbing this menace

Other employee benefits

Why toxic workplace is a big no & how corporates are curbing this menace

With bad indoor air quality impacting productivity of employees, experts feel that this menace will have a connection with quarterly numbers as well.
Why toxic workplace is a big no & how corporates are curbing this menace

Sanjay Singh, the Senior Manager in an FMCG company in New Delhi, chooses to be confined to his office instead of stepping out of the complex for a walk down. Why he likes to stay inside his office is simply because of the toxic air outside his office premises.

With air pollution being increasingly reported across social media platforms including media outlets, workplaces are now raising red flags about the deafening working environment in their offices. So much so that corporates now see a connection between the lethal air and their business performances. As a matter of fact, according to a new research, indoor air pollution may be as much or more of a problem as pollution outdoors. According to a WHO study, bad indoor air quality has caused 3.8 million deaths so far and a series of studies and researches have shown that bad indoor air quality also impacts the workforce and productivity of the employees.

According to a study by JLL, a global real estate services firm, a company spends around $300 per year on people and this is essentially the cost of doing the business. Employees’ output clearly impacts the bottom line in terms of business and profitability.

Commenting on the importance of workplace environment, Rajat Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, West Asia, JLL said, “If you are able to improve the productivity of the employees by giving them a better work environment at workplace, whatever you do is going to add to your bottom line and that’s a conversation which appeals CEOs and CFOs because it’s all about numbers.”

A smoggy day in office

How does the chief of staff make sure that their employees are in a good environment in order for them to deliver better-expected results? Companies are taking different measures to give their employees a healthy workplace.


Meher Sarid, Group President, Oxigen Services, feels there has been a big shift in the last two years towards an open working office culture. Different companies are participating in the co-working space concept and these spaces are equipped with all the facilities that are required for a good working environment. 

She said, “We are also moving to a new office where we will expand our open work culture facilities with all the necessities that are required for a healthy working environment.”

Ajay Kumar, HR Head, Continental Tyres, stressed that hygiene inside the office premises is not negotiated. He pointed out that all the major companies are working in the direction of making a working culture which is fruitful for the employees.

“We as an organization do every bit to make our employees healthy. All the facilities are taken care of such as ventilation, eco-friendly products, and pollution free premises," he said. 

Current scenario

Tarun Varma, VP HR, Shell, said  “It needs a composite partnership between industry and civil society. Given that employees in organizations carry out their duties in various workplace settings like a marketplace, a factory, an office or an offshore platform, it is important for us to understand their environment first. Whilst this affects productivity at the workplace, we must also realize that employees also play other avatars as family members and citizens of the country.”

So while they may be present at work, they may be mentally distracted by the health concerns of their loved ones, thus invisibly impacting productivity. He highlighted that bad air quality especially in North India and many metropolitan areas is an existential threat that’s creeping up on us and affecting multiple generations. There is no one solution to this problem and no one organization can address it.

Companies are becoming aware of the ill effects of bad indoor air quality and they are taking preventive measures as well. Multinational companies are already working in this direction but now Indian organizations are also catching up and enquiring about the solution to get rid of bad indoor air quality inside the office.    

Liam Bates, CEO of Air quality monitoring company Kaiterra shared that now there is data all over the world that clean air is a huge benefit. Liam shared that the Fortune 500 companies are the early adopters of the products. IT sector is the front-runner in getting the indoor air quality fixed in their office premises.

He said, “These companies have staff traveling globally and they want all the offices to be the same and have common standards. International schools are also following the same route and others are following suit.” 

Companies nowadays are designing buildings so they can incorporate the angles of health in the building. Barun Aggarwal, CEO, Breathe Easy highlights that there are seven concepts of building and an average person breathes 13000 litres of air in one day.

He said, “If you get a good environment in office and schools, it has an impact on your brain and your productivity along with cognitive ability goes up. There is a direct link between cognitive ability and productivity and retention.

Bad Indoor air quality is a huge problem and experts suggest that demand for such solutions is coming from Delhi NCR, Bengaluru and also from non-metro cities such as Chandigarh, Meerut and other parts of the country. 

In the current scenario, MNCs are already engaged in such solutions and Indian organizations are becoming serious about this. Even mid-size Indian organizations have started looking for a solution from bad indoor air quality. Sectors such as Finance, FMCG, IT, Travel and others are upbeat about the solution.

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Topics: Other employee benefits, #Corporate

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