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Safest day to work in an office? Wednesday

Workers looking for the lowest virus transmission risk day of the week to go into the workplace should go in on a Wednesday according to findings from an Air Quality Index launched by smart building platform Infogrid. The findings show that only a quarter of working days in 2022 have had a ‘low’ virus transmission risk, showing the effects of winter on the spread of infections like COVID and the flu.

The Infogrid Air Quality Index is based on data points collected in office buildings and workplaces globally including temperature, humidity, office occupancy and CO2 levels and shows how indoor air quality changes over time.

The data, collected between September 2021 and February 2022 shows how virus transmission risk increases around Christmas time. Through September and October virus transmission risk remained ‘low’, however once temperature and humidity start to drop in November, the virus transmission risk doubled with 12 days registering ‘medium’ virus risk.

The impact of Winter is clear as indoor virus transmission risk doubled from September to December 2021 and three quarters of the days in 2022 have been at medium virus transmission risk.

William Cowell de Gruchy, Infogrid CEO, said: “The virus transmission risk increased in November and has remained high through the winter months. While the virus transmission risk moved from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ risk, that increase was enough to cause an influx of covid cases and hospitalisations which led the government to issuing a work-from-home recommendation.”

Wednesday is the safest day 

Further findings from the Air Quality Index show that in the last 6 weeks, Wednesday has consistently recorded the lowest virus transmission risk reading of any day of the week. Wednesday was also the day of the week which recorded the fewest days at medium virus transmission risk, making it the ‘safest’ day to be in the workplace.

The most dangerous day in the last 6 months of was 29th November 2021 when virus transmission risk spiked, nearly hitting ‘high risk’ of virus transmission.

There is also a geographic divide in the UK, cities in the North have been found to have consistently higher virus transmission risk compared to towns and cities in the South. Infogrid also found that virus risk in London is no higher or lower than other cities in the UK.

De Gruchy, added: “It has been really interesting to see how indoor virus transmission risk is no worse in London, despite the capital’s well-known air quality issues. The findings would suggest that buildings in London are better ventilated than those in the rest of the country, reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure their staff are able to conduct their work safely. We know that going to the office or physical workplace bring benefits to employee mental health and productivity, and with restrictions lifting the responsibility of managing virus risk falls to the employer. With the right tech in place, it is possible to reduce the risk of the transmission of not only covid but other seasonal infections like the flu, which is a long-term gain too.”