Worried about germs when traveling? So are a lot of folks.

The “Indoor Air Impact” report sheds light on the impact of indoor air quality on physical and mental health, and Americans’ attitudes toward crowded indoor spaces, and workplace hygiene.

The Findings

The findings reveal significant concerns around indoor air quality, an underlying health issue that has long gone unaddressed.

“Not only are people demanding healthier indoor spaces, but it has become mission critical for businesses to protect their workforce while maintaining sustainability goals and creating spaces that optimize productivity,” said R-Zero CEO Jennifer Nuckles. “While we see some movement through recently enhanced guidelines for air quality and ventilation, there is much more work to be done to ensure that healthy air is prioritized in every indoor space…”

Health Implications of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Almost one-half of Americans (44%) say their physical health is negatively impacted by being indoors for long periods. Additionally, more than one-half (51%) of Americans say their mental health is negatively affected by being indoors for long periods. This effect is more prevalent among females (56%) compared to males (47%).

More than two-thirds (68%) of Americans believe it is important to use an air purifier in their homes, demonstrating a growing awareness of the need for clean indoor air and how consumers are taking it upon themselves to ensure clean air in their own spaces. Respondents are worried about the health implications of poor indoor air quality and have noticed multiple physical and mental health effects of being indoors for extended periods. Respondents reported experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Headaches: 39%
    • This trend is more noticeable among females (44%) than males (34%).
  • Nose or throat irritation: 33%
  • Fatigue: 32%
  • Decreased productivity: 25%
  • Dizziness: 18%

Lingering Unease in Public Indoor Spaces

More than half (52%) of Americans still feel uneasy about being in crowded, indoor spaces due to the potential spread of germs. This sentiment is more pronounced among females (56%) compared to males (47%). Notably, younger generations expressed more unease than older Americans.

  • 18 – 34-year-olds: 60%
  • 35 – 44-year-olds: 58%
  • 45 – 54-year-olds: 55%
  • 55 – 64-year-olds: 44%
  • 65+ years of age: 40%

The survey also highlighted the locations where respondents are most concerned with having the potential to spread germs. More than half of Americans are concerned about germ spread potential in:

  • Travel locations (airport, airplane, hotel): 70%
  • School or childcare locations: 68%
    • Females are more concerned about these locations (73%) than males (63%).
  • Small enclosed spaces (public bathroom, elevator): 68%
    • Females are noticeably more worried about these locations (74%) than males (62%).
  • Medical facilities: 67%
  • Indoor offices: 58%
    • Younger generations expressed more concern for germ spread in workplace locations, with 65-54-year-olds expressing concern, compared to 51% of those ages 55-64 and 44% of those ages 65+.

Goodbye Office Lunches, Hello Healthy Indoor Air

Workplace health etiquette has become a common concern among individuals post-pandemic, and as a result, businesses are facing growing demand to prioritize the health of their office environments. Nearly three-fourths of workers (74%) would choose a workplace that prioritizes a healthy indoor environment over extra monthly personal stipends or free lunches.

Additional findings include:

  • Replying All: A staggering 74% of Americans consider going to work sick a bigger workplace offense than “replying all” on company-wide emails.
  • Oversharing: Nearly half (46%) of Americans frequently worry about catching illnesses from colleagues they share a workspace with at work. This concern declines among older generations.
    • 18 – 34-year-olds: 544-year-older olds: 55%
    • 45 – 54-year-olds: 464-year-older olds: 33%
    • 65+ years of age: 20%
  • Sacrificing PTO: More than half (56%) of Americans would willingly give up a vacation day to ensure their coworkers do not come to the office while sick.

For more information on R-Zero’s Harris Poll findings and its industry-leading disinfection solutions, please visit here.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of R-Zero from May 16 – 18, 2023 among 2,068 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. 

Source: R-Zero