A new wave of COVID, during the height of winter flu season, has many Australian businesses struggling to bring employees back to the office. One office in Sydney, Australia, however, is using air-intelligence technology to reduce the risk of COVID transmission in its spaces and is keeping its employees in the office feeling confident.
Bring people back to work with confidence
The latest wave of COVID in Australia, fuelled by the BA.5 variant, has stalled many businesses’ efforts to encourage their work-from-home employees to finally return after months away. Central Business Districts (CBD), with many commercial tenants, have been particularly hit hard, with record levels of sick leave and occupancy levels in offices falling well below pre-pandemic levels.
With heightened awareness about the airborne transmission of viruses, many people are cautious about returning to shared spaces. Employees often cite concerns about indoor air quality as a reason for their reluctance to return to in-person work.
Despite many businesses’ attempts to upgrade their ventilation systems and introduce COVID-safety policies, it has been difficult to measure results and prove to employees that they are safe. Fortunately, technology is now making it possible for businesses to do both and is deployed in RWDI’s Sydney office.
The RWDI advantage
As a world-class environmental engineering firm, with experts in building performance and ventilation, RWDI understood what was needed to protect its workforce and keep operations running despite COVID. In 2021, it developed ParticleOne, an air-intelligence platform that it quickly deployed across its 26 global offices, including Sydney.
“Over the past year, ParticleOne modelling has helped us better understand our office’s specific risks and has guided our decisions around what mitigations were needed—and which ones were not beneficial ”Kevin Paddie, Director of Operations – Australia and New Zealand, RWDI
In autumn of 2021, ParticleOne modelled specific spaces within the Sydney office to develop evidence-based mitigation plans that were customized for each space. Integrating the latest epidemiological data, the platform factored in what was known about the building’s existing ventilation systems, as well as community infection and vaccination rates.
“Over the past year, ParticleOne modelling has helped us better understand our office’s specific risks and has guided our decisions around what mitigations were needed—and which ones were not beneficial,” says Kevin Peddie, RWDI’s Director of Operations for Australia and New Zealand. “Whether it was adding more portable HEPA air-cleaning units, adjusting our mask policy and/or occupancy levels, ParticleOne data enabled us to make these decisions with confidence and also adaptive to employee concerns.”
Empowering commercial tenants
Like many offices in Australia’s CBDs, RWDI is a tenant and does not own its building. This often can present challenges, as tenants have little-to-no control over their building’s mechanical systems and policies. Fortunately, a key benefit of ParticleOne is its ability to model individual spaces and enable tenants to implement science-based measures, like in-room filtration, that are within their control and will reduce risks.
“It has been reassuring to come to our office, knowing that the risks of COVID are being considered and RWDI are undertaking active measures to protect us,” says Janna Pitchford, a Business Development Coordinator in the Sydney office. “We know that ParticleOne is monitoring conditions and will alert us to any new developments.”
In addition to RWDI’s offices, ParticleOne is being used by many buildings across North America as a way to restore occupancy and achieve ESG goals and commitments, particularly in the commercial real estate sector.
To achieve healthy air that includes virus controls, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.