One of the most enjoyable perks of telecommuting is getting to enhance your work environment however you like. A comfy chair with a cozy throw? Check. A good-looking paper weight? Check. A framed and autographed baseball card of your favorite MLB player? Check, and check.
In other words, you’ve elevated your home office décor, but what about your air? You have to breathe, and the stuff you inhale impacts your well-being and your productivity. With that in mind, here are seven ways to sweeten the smell and improve the air quality in your home office.
1. Kick the Habit
If you have children in the home, you shouldn’t smoke indoors. However, even if you remain childless, particulates can pollute your indoor air, and secondhand smoke doesn’t smell welcoming to anyone.
Plus, smoking increases your risk of developing countless diseases, like cancer, none of which benefit your productivity. If you have tried to quit before, don’t lose hope. It often takes people several tries before they stop for good.
Look for free government resources to help you kick the habit, or check with your doctor. Some medications can make quitting less intimidating.
2. Upgrade Your Air Filters
If you are still using an inexpensive fiberglass air filter, you probably don’t remember to change it every 30 days as you should. Instead, switch to an upgraded model that uses activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal binds to pollutants, effectively removing them from circulating air, and many of them last far longer than typical filters. You may only need to swap them out every few months, although you may want to keep a more frequent change schedule if you have pets or smokers in the home.
3. Open a Window
One of the most cost-effective ways to improve your indoor air quality is to pop open a window and let in the fresh air. Granted, if you have allergies, the spring blooms might cause a bit of discomfort.
If need be, wait until you finish work for the day, then throw up the sash and let in the breeze. You can air out your office overnight if the weather cooperates, and you’ll love the fresh scent in the morning.
4. Avoid VOCs
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, linger on many household surfaces. You often find them in building materials and furnishings, as well as wood preservatives and aerosol sprays. These can cause significant health problems, such as eye and nose irritation. Given the current pandemic, you don’t want to confuse symptoms from these irritants with something worse.
Depending on your financial situation, you might not be able to replace your furniture. However, when the time comes, look for versions that are labeled VOC-free. Also, avoid using products like furniture polish that often contain these substances — stick to an eco-friendly feather duster.
5. Add Some Houseplants
Way back in the 1980s, NASA decided to see how people could sustain life on other planets. Since oxygen is vital, they wanted to see if plants would provide sufficient supplies.
They discovered that greenery does much more than emit the life-giving stuff. They also clean pollutants like formaldehyde from your indoor air.
6. Run Your Vacuum
If you have pets, all that dander gets caught in your carpet and erodes your indoor air quality. Additionally, if people wear shoes in your house, you drag in pollen and other pollutants from the outdoors.
One of the simplest ways to breathe more freely indoors is to run your vacuum regularly. If you have hardwood or tile floors, you can sweep, followed by a damp mop. You should dust once per week as well.
7. Consider Aromatherapy
A small aromatherapy diffuser helps to boost humidity levels in your home office, which comes in handy during winter months. The dry, indoor air can turn your nasal passages into a desert, leaving you without your first line of defense — mucus — against germs.
Plus, certain scents can enhance your productivity on the clock. Lemon provides a boost of mental alertness and stimulates your memory. Both peppermint and eucalyptus can stimulate your focus, as well as acting as therapy for upper respiratory ailments. Practitioners claim that basil eases stress, which also improves your ability to concentrate.
Improve the Air Quality of Your Home Office With These Tips
You can make the air in your home office sweeter and enjoy improved productivity as a result. Use the tips above and enjoy breathing deeply and comfortably as you work.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a broad variety of topics on his blog. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!