Do you work from home? Whether you work remotely a few days a week from a home office, or run your own business or startup from that single room in your house, the air quality can have a big impact on how you feel and how much you get done.
Breathing poor air can lead to a serious case of the blahs, not to mention headaches, stuffiness, tiredness, even loss of concentration and memory problems. And you may not realize it, but indoor air pollution is often far worse than outdoors.
All of that has a proven negative effect on your ability to think and get work done.
So while the rest of the world runs around looking for the perfect productivity app and finding their Zen, you can improve your productivity just by breathing better air!
Here are some ways that you can improve the air quality of your home office – and by extension the rest of your house – and enjoy better health, better focus and even a better mood.
Check For Airflow
It’s not uncommon for a home office to be an afterthought. Maybe it was an unused bedroom, or some other extra room that you turned into an office. That usually means furniture dropped in at random, stacks of supplies, books, or files, and the dog bed in the corner.
You may be sharing the room with the guest pillows stashed there until needed, or someone’s collection of old magazines.
The point is that you may not be paying attention to where or how air flows through the room. If vents are covered, blocked or hidden behind curtains and storage boxes, you’re not getting proper circulation. And since you’re probably also working with the door shut against the rest of the house, you could be setting yourself up to breathe some pretty stuffy air.
This is easy enough to resolve by ensuring that vents are clear. And try opening the windows once in a while. The fresh air will actually do you quite a bit of good.
Pick Up A Dust Cloth
Home offices are notoriously cluttered. Even if yours doesn’t double as a storage room, you probably have a mess of wires for your computer and printer, paper files in your archives, and that stack of bobblehead dolls that the kids bought for your birthday.
All that stuff is just a magnet for dust, and dust is enemy number one when it comes to bad air. Even if you’re not allergic to dust, it’s unhealthy to inhale it all day long. And you may not realize it, but dust can also trap and retain chemicals, including those from cleaning products.
Keep dust to a minimum by using microfiber cloths to trap particles rather than just move them around or send them back into the air, and try a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Install An Air Purifier
Skip the portable ionizers and the desktop filters. Installing an air purifier right in your ductwork comes with a whole lot more advantages.
It’ll trap dust and allergens, reduce odors, even kill germs in the air and on surfaces. Portable purifiers are usually good at one of these things but a good whole house purifier can do them all.
Better yet, it’ll do that for the entire house, so you can breathe easier whether you’re working, watching TV or enjoying a good night’s sleep after a productive day.
Air purifiers won’t do the housekeeping for you, so you’ll still need to pick up that dust cloth and vacuum now and then, but they can go a long way to reducing airborne particles that can mess with your focus, energy and health.
Change Your Filters
Even the best air purifiers are no match for clogged filters. In fact, you could be putting unnecessary wear and tear on your HVAC system if you don’t change your filters regularly, not to mention spewing pollutants back into the air as it passes through dirty, dust-ridden filters.
As a rule of thumb, they should be replaced every three months minimum. If you have pets, you may want to up that to every 30-60 days. Add allergies and every 20 might be even better.
Better yet, have your entire system maintained twice a year. Your HVAC contractor will change or clean filters for you and let you know if anything needs attention. In between, you can change filters as often as you need.
Move The Mop
You may be diligent about mopping dust from your hardwood floors and keeping it off your desk, but if you store the mop in the corner of the room – or even in the closet – you’re just trapping those particles and pollutants in the room with you.
Cleaning supplies can be a problem, too. The chemicals contribute to air pollution that reduces air quality and affects how you feel. If you’re exposed to them long enough, they can cause all sorts of respiratory problems and illnesses, and nobody gets much done when they’re sick.
Relegate mops, brooms and cleaning supplies to another room, preferably one that isn’t closed or near an area where you or your family spends the majority of their time. Air purifiers that capture chemicals are a good choice here, too. And if you’re really motivated, consider switching to cleaners with fewer chemicals and use natural ingredients instead.
Get A Fern
Or really, any green plant will do. They make great desk companions and they’re handy automatic vacuum cleaners for air pollution. They’ll convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, and some are known to absorb or dilute harmful chemicals.
Some of the more effective plants include Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Spider Plant, Boston Fern and English Ivy. And when it comes down to it, can you ever really have too many house plants? Just don’t forget to occasionally spritz or wipe down leaves to keep them dust-free!
Watch The Humidity
Humidity is a tough one – too high and it can cause mold, too low and it can result in respiratory illness. Mold is one of the top contributors to indoor air pollution, and we probably don’t have to tell you how detrimental it can be to your health. And unfortunately, some viruses thrive in low humidity which can also compromise your heath.
If that sounds like a lot, don’t fret! Both can be easily attached to your HVAC system and switched on or off depending on your needs.
The good news is that by maintaining a consistent humidity level, you’ll breathe better, avoid some common health pitfalls of working from a home office all day, and stay far more focused on getting your job done.
If you work from a home office and want to keep your air as clean and healthy as possible, let us know. We’ll visit your home for a free evaluation and estimate to install the HVAC components that you need.