Common Workplace Allergies and Triggers

Allergies are common during pollen season outdoors, but what about sniffles and sneezes in the office? Allergies in the workplace might mean a dusty office, mold, or even food risks. While they can undoubtedly hinder productivity, allergies can also be life-threatening.

It’s essential to be aware of common workplace allergens and symptoms to prevent them and keep your employees safe. By employing proper workplace hygiene measures, you can eliminate allergies at the source. Keep reading to learn the impact of allergies and how to reduce allergens in the workplace.

Impact of Workplace Allergies on Employees

More than 50 million people in the United States experience different types of allergies every year. An allergic employee can experience a harmful physical reaction when exposed to an allergen. Workspaces include several variables that can trigger allergies and affect the health and safety of your employees.

While many allergies develop quickly, others occur gradually from repeated exposure, making proper hygiene critical. Many common workplace allergens can affect your employees, including:

  • Pollen, dust and molds
  • Pet dander and debris
  • Industrial chemicals — such as solvents, bleaches and adhesives
  • Natural rubber latex
  • Food allergies
  • Perfumes and odorants
  • Wood dust and resins

While many allergy symptoms are just inconvenient, some are life-threatening. Symptoms can vary depending on the employee, but allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, contact dermatitis, rashes, hives or asthma.

Studies also show allergies significantly impact workplace productivity. One study found Americans lose 3.5 million workdays each year due to allergies. And it makes sense that those with allergies in the office would be less productive than healthy team members.

That’s why it’s essential to keep a clean workspace. A dirty office can be distracting, inhibit creativity and slow production. A clean office also lends to an attractive and comfortable professional environment.

common allergens in the workplace

How to Reduce Allergens in the Workplace

A workplace’s top priority should be the health and safety of employees. Considering your employees’ health concerns can also boost productivity. While it may be challenging to clean regularly and focus on work operations simultaneously, professionals can help.

Janitorial cleaning and sanitizing services promote those workplace hygiene measures without you needing to lift a finger. Experts can help prevent allergies in the workspace so you can focus solely on your company.

Other cleaning tips for allergies in the workplace include:

1. Dust

Dust is a common culprit for allergies in the workplace. Dust mites will hide almost anywhere and gather on carpets, furniture and cubicle walls. When your employees are frequently exposed to dust, it gives rise to the common dust allergy. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, irritable eyes, cough and shorter breaths.

Regularly dusting and vacuuming the office can help prevent these health hazards. It’s also essential to sanitize your office and check your air filtration regularly to stop allergens from circulating in your office space.

Professional carpet cleaning can also remove dirt, debris and dust from beneath carpets. The Facilities Group uses a low moisture process to eliminate deeply embedded stains and substances. The process helps promote a clean, healthy work environment and ensures your employees’ safety.

2. Mold

Mold is a fungus that exists outdoors and indoors. Once inside, exposure to heat, moisture and food helps it multiply. A large-scale fungus spread can significantly impact your employees’ health and immunity.

Symptoms from mold exposure include itchiness, sneezing, congestion and dry or scaling skin. In severe cases, it can make its way into a person’s lungs and cause asthma attacks.

Strong workplace hygiene can prevent mold buildup and ensure your employees’ safety. It’s also critical to change air filters regularly and reduce humidity levels and dampness levels indoors by running a dehumidifier. Professionals can clean carpets and other areas where mold can build up. Putting these hygiene guidelines in place can reduce your employees’ exposure to this dangerous allergen.

3. Pet Dander

While many offices allow pets, some employees have trouble with the allergens they bring in. The animal protein found in some pets’ saliva and skin cells is what triggers an allergic reaction. Employees with asthma will be among those most affected by pet dander. Pet allergy symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes and postnasal drip.

To prevent employees’ exposure to this allergy, you might consider a no-pet policy in the office. You might also create a designated pet area in the office or a different workspace so employees can bring their pets while minimizing the risk to those who are allergic to their dander.

4. Fragrances

While fragrances won’t cause severe allergic reactions, they can make the environment uncomfortable for employees in close proximity. The substances used in perfumes are chemicals and synthetics that irritate the skin. Symptoms can also include itchy eyes and throat and sneezing.

The best way to prevent this allergy is to maintain a safe distance from perfumes and colognes. Suppose certain employees are sensitive to these smells. In that case, it’s best to take their concerns seriously by installing proper air circulation measures and removing certain fragrances, such as candles and room sprays, from the office.

5. Food Allergies

Approximately 32 million Americans have food allergies. Milk, eggs, nuts, wheat and seafood are responsible for most of the more severe food allergy reactions. Symptoms can range from mild with an itchy mouth or hives to severe with throat tightening and difficulty breathing.

It’s best to take note of each employee’s allergies to adjust your workspace and keep them safe. For instance, employees allergic to nuts should not work near these products, while you’ll need to remove any products with gluten from those with Celiac disease. It’s essential to gear your sensitivity training toward those with allergies, disabilities and health issues, especially regarding food allergies.

TFG Will Take Care of Your Office Cleaning Needs

Above all, keeping a clean workplace is essential in keeping allergens at bay. The Facilities Group (TFG) provides thorough cleaning services for commercial spaces across the country.

Many common workplace allergens gather in carpets, drapes and other absorbent materials that aren’t cleaned often. Our expert cleaners eliminate allergens by removing dust, debris and other common irritants from your office. Boost your team’s productivity by giving us a call. We’ll handle everything from washing floors and windows to commercial sanitation and restocking consumables.

With over 35 years of dedicated service in the janitorial industry, TFG offers thorough and reliable cleaning solutions. Our expert services will keep your company healthy and happy.

Contact us online or call 877-227-6374 today to find out how we can maintain your workspace.

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Jack McCown

Coming soon. 

Jack McCown


Dwight has spent his entire career in the facility service and maintenance industry, holding various positions, including Integration, Human Resources, Accounting, Purchasing, and Information Technology. He prides himself on working alongside our partners and management teams on a daily basis.

Since 2015, Dwight has led the integration of over 25 transactions in the facility service space, including both platform and bolt-on opportunities.
Dwight’s responsibilities at The Facilities Group include business integration, operational due diligence, system synergies, project management, strategy execution, and day-to-day operational support and oversight.

He holds a Bachelor’s in Management from The University of Tampa’s John H. Sykes College of Business and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). On the weekend, you may catch him on the golf course or at a local sporting event.



An experienced business leader with a successful track record of maximizing value to customers and internal stakeholders through driving innovation and growth within highly dynamic, technology-enabled mobile workforces.

Adam has held multiple positions over his 20+ year career with a focus on creating an engaged workforce, while supporting them with real-world solutions that are focused on an optimized process, technology, and conversion of data to information, with a blend of human and technical systems.

Some of Adam’s prior leadership positions include SVP US Operations at ABM and President of Unifi (formerly Delta Global Services), where Adam oversaw over 22,000 employees in nearly 200 airports performing multiple services including full ground handling, aircraft cleaning, security, cargo, facilities management and janitorial.

Adam received his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and his MBA from the University of Georgia.



Paul Gargagliano has over 20 years of experience in finance, public and private accounting, and has held several high-level financial positions within the janitorial and professional services industry. Paul’s experience also includes service in the United States Coast Guard for over 20 years where he retired as a Master Chief Boatswainsmate.

In addition, Paul also served in the Airborne Infantry of the United States Army. Paul has led teams at various levels and believes in the importance of culture and people for the success of all organizations.

Paul graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the States of California and Florida as well as a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Paul was the previous CFO of Diversified Maintenance and Hill-Ward Henderson.



An experienced leader and executive, Dave has spent over thirty years in the facility management & service industry. This includes ten years as a facility manager as well as twenty years as a building service contractor executive.

Across his career, Dave has spearheaded operations & sales in several market segments such as janitorial, high rise window cleaning, painting, waterproofing, and caulking. During his time with The Facilities Group, Dave has successfully completed fifteen acquisitions, leading operational integration & processes, sales strategies, philosophy and most importantly culture.

Dave holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of South Florida, and earned his Real Property Administrator (RPA), and Facility Manager Administrator (FMA) from BOMA in 1998, 1999, and his Green Cleaning Certification from the Green Clean Institute in 2005.



As the CHRO & Senior Vice President of People –Strategy and Solutions, Vivian Smith leads People functions that support both our business objectives and growth to ensure the success of the organization. She has proven abilities in developing and leading human capital management programs and People operations that allow for effectively advancing human capital to its highest potential while generating a culture of engagement and inclusion.

Vivian spent the last 16 years in a Senior HR Leadership role with ABM before joining The Facilities Group. She provided overall strategic HR leadership at corporate and subsidiary companies. Directed, implemented, and ensured compliance while fostering a workplace environment consistent with company values. Oversaw the development and administration of compliance and reporting functions, mergers and acquisition transitioning, organizational structure changes, performance management, training and development, employee relations, diversity, and inclusion. She directly oversaw the Houston, TX ABM HR Share Services office and ran point on all items related to People during the GCA acquisition where she successfully onboarded over 37,000 employees. Over the course of her time at ABM, Vivian spearheaded HR functions for 5+ acquisitions across the country, all with employee counts north of 2,500.



Jeff Hawkins has spent the past 20 years as a Sales and Marketing leader in the janitorial and facilities maintenance industry. He has led successful teams from local support offices to multi-million dollar national sales organizations. Jeff is an experienced leader in Franchising and working with Corporate Owned offices throughout the United States with Jani-King for 10+ years.

Prior to joining The Facilities Group, Jeff lead the National Sales Team at City Wide Franchise Co. His leadership and drive secured national partnerships with some of the largest companies in the transportation industry increasing organic growth from $8 million to $74 million in less than 3 years. His experience in Hospitality, Automotive, Logistics, Medical and Education vertical markets provides our companies with the education, training and support for future growth.



Keaton is an Information Technology (IT) professional with 15 years of progressive experience. Prior to joining The Facilities Group, Keaton was a Sr. IT Consultant with Leidos, a fortune 500 company, for eight years where he successfully led multiple large-scale development, implementation, upgrade, optimization, and sustainability projects for his clients with budgets exceeding $100M+ and project teams of 100+ members. Earlier in his career Keaton worked at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and previously interned at industry leading companies Ernst & Young, State Farm and Publix.

Originally from Indiana, Keaton earned his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from the Indiana State University Scott College of Business and his master’s degree in Management Information Systems from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, which is ranked in the top 25 among US business schools.

Keaton holds various certifications including Project Management Professional (PMP) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation.



Scott Henley is the Chief Operating Officer for The Facilities Group National Division. Scott joined a TFG subsidiary, Excel Building Services, in 2012 as VP of Operations. Scott developed and built the ISP division at Excel, which now services over 2000 locations nationally.

Scott brings more than 25 years of experience in Facilities Management. Scott studied Business Management at Augusta College, where he played baseball, and Georgia State University. Scott has been involved with both PRISM and ISSA for over 20 years. Scott resides in Fayetteville, Georgia, with his wife Amy and their two children.


David Hammond

Since 2014, David Hammond has led as CEO of CSI International, Inc., Horizon Publishing, and Opulence International Realty, showcasing his versatile leadership across diverse industries. With a rich background that includes roles as COO, Executive VP, Sales Manager, and Director of IT, David possesses a deep understanding of various business sectors. His journey to CEO was preceded by six years as an elected officer, enriching his leadership portfolio. David’s diverse experience extends beyond the corporate world; he was a proud member of the 1987 America’s Cup team, Stars and Stripes, and dedicated six years to the US Navy Submarine service. Currently, David contributes his expertise to several boards, including the Boca Ballet Theater, South Florida Manufacturers Association, and Florida Gold Coast Swimming, reflecting his commitment to community and industry excellence.

David Hammond

Group Chief Operations Officer

Alfu Miah serves as Group Chief Operations Officer at The Facilities Group. He is responsible for enabling business scalability while driving increased value through account management,  customer retention, topline growth, and enhanced profitability.  

At University of North London, he studied engineering and started his career in the automotive industry, designing and manufacturing cars. Since then, he has applied his continuous improvement mindset to drive substantial revenue growth across a variety of global industries-leveraging ample experience in facilities management, commercial operations, solutions design, and business transformation. He brings to TFG decades of proven success in the design, implementation and execution of compelling business growth, strategy, and solutions for some of the most respected companies around the world.

Alfu Miah

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Fergus, CFO


O’Connell brings extensive facility service leadership experience to the role, having served on the Board of Directors at The Facilities Group since October 2022. Prior to joining TFG, he was the CFO of Kellermeyer Bergensons Services (KBS).
O’Connell also held multiple executive leadership positions including CFO and CEO of the North American division at ISS, one of the largest facilities management companies in the world. He also led the sale and integration of Pristine Environments following its sales to KBS, a national janitorial company.
O’Connell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business studies from the University of Limerick, has been recognized by industry colleagues for sound financial leadership throughout his career. He specializes in implementing successful growth strategies, operational excellence, and effective change management.

Fergus O'Connell

Mark Borge

Mark Borge has been a driving force in the facility services industry as the Principal and Co-founder of Best Facility Services since August 2004. Under his leadership, the company has grown to become a recognized name in the field, providing top-notch services that consistently exceed client expectations. Mark’s extensive background, which spans from sales at Swifty Printing/Redstone Visual Impressions to Vice President of Minuteman Press Arlington, has equipped him with a profound understanding of business operations and customer service excellence. His venture into real estate investment in 2008 further showcases his adeptness in identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities, strengthening his portfolio and contributing to his comprehensive skill set in both business management and investment strategies.

Mark Borge’s active and prior involvement in esteemed organizations like Lifestyles Unlimited, The Entrepreneurs Organization, and the United States Green Building Council showcases his dedication to professional growth and community engagement. His diverse interests are backed by a solid education, holding a Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Finance from UTA. Mark has held leadership roles in various boards, emphasizing his commitment to organizational success.

Mark Borge

Scott Paul

Scott Paul is the past president of The Facilities Group Hawaii, LLC (formerly known as Kleenco Group), a commercial building maintenance and janitorial company founded in Hawaii in 1971.  Scott acquired Kleenco Group in 2012, and over the subsequent nine years more than doubled revenue and quadrupled earnings. In 2021, Scott sold Kleenco Group to The Facilities Group.  Scott led the integration of Kleenco Group with its sister company, Armstrong Building Maintenance (acquired by The Facilities Group in 2020), when the two companies merged to form The Facilities Group Hawaii with 600 employees.  Scott led the combined company through 2023 and continues as a partner and advisor to The Facilities Group. 

Prior to acquiring Kleenco Group, Scott was president & CEO of Hoku Corporation, a Nasdaq-listed solar company based in Hawaii and majority-owned by a Chinese state-owned enterprise.  Scott first joined Hoku in 2003 as its VP business development & general counsel.  In 2008, Scott was promoted to chief operating officer, and in April 2010 became chief executive officer and joined Hoku’s board of directors.  Scott resigned as Hoku’s CEO in June 2012 but continued to serve on its board of directors as chairman of the restructuring committee until July 2013. 

Before joining Hoku, Scott was a corporate attorney and business development professional in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1998 until July 2003.  Scott worked as director of business development and associate general counsel at Read-Rite Corporation, a publicly traded multi-national company acquired by Western Digital Corporation in 2003. Previously, Scott worked as an attorney at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP, and Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May (now Reed Smith), law firms, where he represented high tech emerging growth and large-cap public companies, and their investors and underwriters, on financing and acquisition transactions. 

Scott earned his JD cum laude from Santa Clara Law School in 1998 and his BA in psychology from University of California, Los Angeles, in 1995.  He has served on the board of trustees of Temple Emanuel in Honolulu since 2016 and has been a volunteer faculty member at the Punahou School Academy since 2015 where he co-teaches a business course. 

Scott Paul

Scott Gibson

Coming soon. 

Scott Gibson


A proven leader and business owner, Bryson understands first-hand the hard work and determination required to build and run a successful enterprise. He started his first company at nineteen years old, cleaning medical offices and banks during the evening while attending college in the daytime. Since 2010, he has completed 47 transactions in the facility service & maintenance industry across the country.

In 2014 the Tampa Bay Business Journal awarded Bryson as one of Tampa Bay’s Up and Comers 30 Under 30. In 2018, he sold his companies and founded The Facilities Group. Fast-forward to today, he helps companies improve efficiency and achieve growth by acquiring, merging, selling, or restructuring.

His strong suits include operations, due-diligence, back-office oversight, and creating powerful business strategies custom tailored to each entity situation.

Bryson Raver