Brighter days - but with reduced working capacity?

Warmer temperatures and the outdoors - the upcoming season is great... for most of us.


But for some, this season presents a recurring problem leading to reduced concentration and work performance - due to pollen allergy. Should our work performance or school results be affected by seasonal changes?

One in four Swedes

Right now, flowers are in full bloom and pollen levels are high. One in four Swedes suffers from allergies and for many it's difficult, especially now that many of us are back in the office in the aftermath of the pandemic. Research shows how the total amount of particulate matter we are exposed to affects us negatively, which may explain why allergy problems are often more common in cities.  

The Swedish pollen season can be divided into three periods: spring when deciduous trees are in bloom, summer with grass pollen and late summer/autumn for grasses. High pollen levels build up naturally where the wind carries the airborne particles.  

Symptoms of pollen-related allergies include general fatigue but also physical problems such as runny nose, red eyes and recurrent sneezing. 

The impact on work

Pollen allergy sufferers often worry about how the season will affect them and chase medication that leads to nothing but fatigue. Many of us allergy sufferers worry about how to cope with everyday life - from delivering at work to managing the house and home, not to mention enjoying our free time.  

Researcher Lars-Olaf Cardell has previously commented in Svenska Dagbladet on his research at Karolinska Institutet (KI) on the costs and extent of pollen allergy. In Swedish companies surveyed, many employees stated that their work capacity was definitely negatively affected, with many sneezing and sniffling their way through the working day.

According to the KI study, lower productivity, which in turn leads to sick leave, costs Swedish companies more than USD 1 000 per employee with allergies. The total cost to society is estimated at over USD 1.3 billion.

The dark side of costs related to allergies is huge. Mainly because the majority of us continue with our working days as usual - but with less energy and persistent symptoms. And this isn't just hard on yourself. It is not pleasant to spend your working day among snotty and coughing colleagues in the office environment.


Reducing problems increases well-being and performance

So what can pollen allergy sufferers do besides starting any medication in good time?

In addition to being open about your allergies, especially at work, the Swedish Allergy and Asthma Federation recommends changing sheets, wiping floors and surfaces more often, and rinsing your nose. For those who prefer outdoor exercise, the tip is to do this early in the morning or late in the evening when particle levels are lower.

Another question is what can employers do for their employees when the pollen season affects the work environment for more than six months each year? In addition to the previous tips, commercial and proven air purification is recommended to alleviate symptoms by reducing unhealthy particles, including pollen, from indoor air in the office. Bad air is something that many of us at work hardly think about. - It is known as the 'invisible problem'.

The impact of air cleaning in the office

In addition to reducing pollen problems, the air becomes crisper to breathe and contains less harmful particles from traffic and printers that end up in our lungs. At the same time, we stay more alert longer into the afternoon. In addition, there are also opportunities for double protection by installing scientifically proven virus inhibitors. These prevent the spread of seasonal flu and winter flu, for example - whether it's pollen season or not. As always, talented and ambitious employees should be given the best possible conditions for increased productivity and creativity. Clean air should be a given.

As always, talented and ambitious employees should be given the best possible conditions for increased productivity and creativity. In this respect, clean air should be a matter of course.

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