April 8, 2022
Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home commonplace. More and more companies are selling their office spaces to save on rent and diversify their workforce. Companies operating in a more hybrid fashion are also allowing employees to utilize their home offices a few days per week. According to a survey by CoSo Cloud, 77% of remote employees say they are more productive when they’re working from home.
Since indoor air quality (IAQ) is closely tied to productivity, we are bringing you five ways to improve your home environment. Factors, such as increased pollen or low ventilation, can impact how you feel and cause symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, migraines, and/or irritation of the nose, throat, or eyes. With proper IAQ modifications, you can feel your best and cross tasks off your to-do list so you can enjoy both your work and personal life.
1. Control Humidity In Your Home
The warmer summer months can naturally lead to more humid conditions inside our homes. We need to pay attention to mold and mildew which can trigger respiratory issues. To achieve maximum productivity, it is important to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity inside your home. The EPA has several recommendations for reducing humidity, including venting appliances and investing in a dehumidifier.
2. Maintain Adequate Ventilation
Homes need to have fresh air coming in and dirty air going out. To ensure clean air circulates throughout your home, you should open your doors and windows whenever possible. Additionally, it’s important to use special venting in certain areas of your home. In the kitchen, for instance, an exhaust fan can be helpful to move the air outside. Similarly, bathroom fans help to remove moisture from the space.
3. Replace Common Household Filters
There are numerous filters across your household appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, and kitchen vents. If you clean these filters every few months, you’ll prevent contaminants from escaping back into the air through gaps in the casing. Even though we can’t see PM2.5 (fine particulate matter), we can feel its effects. By understanding what’s in your air, you’ll be able to make healthier decisions.
4. Avoid Air Fresheners and Candles
Everyone loves a fresh scent, but have you ever thought about the synthetic chemicals that are released by these products? Despite the intent of air fresheners and candles, these fragrances emit hazardous air pollutants. Our constant exposure to these products can raise the level of TVOCs (total volatile organic compounds) in our homes and increase our risk of endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, and cancer.
5. Invest in Air Quality Monitoring
Before making any changes to your indoor air quality, you need a baseline understanding of what’s in your air. Are your CO2 levels too high? How about your humidity? An IAQ monitoring device like our Awair Element will read your air levels so you can understand what’s working and not working in your space. Through the Awair Home app, you’ll receive recommendations on improving your IAQ.
It’s been a tough year for parents and school kids. Both have endured a historic disruption of the education system, and rapidly shifted to virtual schooling. Many parents set up a place to work from home, whether at the kitchen table, on the couch, or creating an office in an extra room, while also creating space for their children to learn remotely. The kids have not had it easy either and are well aware that they are missing many traditional rites of passage during lockdown, such as proms, sports, and extracurricular activities.
Is the indoor air quality at universities impacting student health and academic performance? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that the answer is yes. A big reason for this is the widespread presence of mold in classrooms.