Clean air for all WiFi workers
by Eduard Schaepman, on 10 Sep 2020
All companies are struggling with the same thing: when do we ask our employees to return to the office? Some come back in shifts (I recently spoke to someone who is allowed to be in the office one day every 2 weeks, and yes, she felt that was ridiculous too), others are not allowed to return to the office at all in 2020 and yet others decide for themselves. ‘I miss my colleagues, the social contact', well, I don't have to explain anymore that it's not an ideal situation. We have to look for ways to get that fear out of the world, so that we can put our businesses back on track. After all, we have been in this situation since March...
At Tribes, we immediately started making our offices coronaproof with plexiglass, signage, thermal cameras, and so on. Still, not all our members are comfortable with it, or it is decided from the head office in America that they will be working from home until December. But we think it's just as a shame as they do when their office is unused day in and day out. So, we've been looking hard for ways to provide just that little bit of extra safety. I myself have been convinced for some time of the importance of good ventilation (as my grandmother used to say: 'you have to open your windows for some clean air!'), and that got me thinking. Wouldn't there be ways to create éxtra clean air in the office?
I wrote about it before: you have different types of ventilation systems, but the standard overhead system is used for an office building. Air comes in from the top, goes all over the room, takes all the aerosols along the route, passes people's noses and mouths, and is sucked back from the top. By opening a window, you can adjust that 'route' quite a bit, but of course there are a lot of more professional ways to do it. That's why we started testing different systems at Tribes. Last week you could read about our system in the first test location on the Zuidas (using Virobuster), where we use UV radiation to kill viruses and bacteria in the air and suck the air down to the ground instead of upstairs. The same technique is used in operating rooms, so it's very safe.
But of course, there are more possibilities, which are just as safe and very practical. In Rotterdam Blaak, for example, we set up a system together with Kayo Consulting to permanently remove particulate matter, bacteria and viruses from the indoor climate. Polluted/contaminated air is passed through a filter system with an electric field, viruses, bacteria and other pathogens are killed and captured in the filter. The clean air is redistributed in your office, so you and your employees run much less risk of infecting each other.
Last Thursday Maurice de Hond visited our first coronaproof office in Amsterdam, and he was very clear: 'Scientific research clearly shows that aerosols contribute significantly to the spread of the coronavirus. Ventilation of indoor spaces is crucial, and with an air filtration system you go one step further'. The role of aerosols in the spread of the coronavirus is increasingly recognized, not only worldwide, but also in the Netherlands. Yesterday it was big in the news (among others with Op1), because Maurice finally received support from the first Dutch doctor who publicly raised the influence of aerosols in the spread of the coronavirus, lung specialist and researcher Hans in 't Veen. Fortunately, we already knew this for a long time, and we started preparations in time, so we are already in a testing phase.
If that doesn't make people feel safe, I don't know anymore. Although I have heard of a new system: the constant disinfection of spaces... Who knows, maybe that will be our next step. Although I increasingly suspect (or fear) that everyone is waiting patiently for our prime minister to give the green light for all office workers to go back. We should join forces as a group. Just like the contact professions, who made themselves heard loudly and were able to get back to work, we should join forces. In the real estate world, they don't move, so let's go with it all. All office coffee-takers, office chair-seaters, laptop viewers and WiFi workers: let's hear it!