Coronavirus Outbreak: Importance of Indoor Air Quality during Work from Home

Most of us believe that a quiet and calm place, with adequate lighting, decent internet speed and a fast performing computer system is all we need to augment our efficiency during work from home. However, we tend to underestimate the impact of indoor air quality on our work.

With the Coronavirus outbreak, work from home has become the new normal. Organizations and individuals all across the world are investing in wellness programs to reverse the negative mental and physical impact of the pandemic on their productivity and overall wellbeing. Right from remote engagement, to staycations, there are several practices that professionals are adopting to make working from home more productive and less exhaustive. While there has been a focus on different aspects of productivity, its relation with the indoor air quality has by far been overlooked. Most of us believe that a quiet and calm place, with adequate lighting, decent internet speed and a fast performing computer system is all we need to augment our efficiency during work from home. However, we tend to underestimate the impact of indoor air quality on our work.

A research by Harvard University’s Healthy Buildings Program, suggests that optimal air quality conditions have a direct positive impact on worker concentration and cognitive ability. In the study, some professionals were placed in an experimental setting called the ‘green condition’ with improved ventilation and reduced carbon dioxide levels. This led to a 61% increase in cognitive performance and doubling of the green condition increased the cognitive performance by over 100%. A cost benefit analysis also points towards the importance of indoor air quality. Providing optimal indoor quality for organizations comes out to about $40 per person per year which leads to an 8% increase in productivity equivalent to adding $6500 per year to the bottom line.

While many forward looking organizations have been agile to adopt optimal indoor air quality conditions to promote healthy workplaces, the pandemic has added a new need. Since most individuals are now working from home, there is a need to recreate optimal indoor air quality conditions at home. There are several ways you can create a more productive work environment in their homes. Put simply, improving indoor air quality is about reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals, dust pollutants, bacteria, viruses and many more pollutants in the ecosystem.

To begin with, you can double down on your cleaning efforts. Select deep cleaning products that can effectively remove mold, dust and other toxic particles. At the same time, everyone knows home these days are closely packed due to exploitative land usage by builders. When people use air conditioning systems and air purifiers they usually close doors and windows of rooms. This eventually leads to increase in concentration of Carbon Dioxide and lower oxygen levels, both lower oxygen levels and higher CO2 levels have adverse impact on human health. Ventilation is the key here. Boost cross ventilation while working from home by opening windows when the air outside is fresh, essentially during the morning. If that’s not an option, leverage ceiling or table fans for the same. Increase in circulation of air will reduce the concentration of pollutants and improve the indoor quality of your work from home space. Finally, one can always leverage resources and explore various technologies available like Photo Hydro Ionization by O2Cure. The technology is very well exploited in more than

60 countries across the world. Today, there are several air filters available in the market to help create optimal conditions and a favorable air quality, suitable for efficient human functioning.

It would be ideal to engage in home tests for air quality to gauge the extent of pollutants and the intensity of solution needed. While slight fluctuations in air quality can be reversed with proper cleaning and ventilation, extremely poor indoor air quality requires installation of air filters and other devices. Though these device would not be able to cure disease. However, it will drastically reduce the risk of its transmission. The bottom line is to keep an eye out for the potential pollutants that might enter your place of work and take immediate action to reduce your exposure to them. The better techniques you use to minimize the exposure, the closer you will be to maximize your productivity and work concentration while you work from home.

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