The Power of Your Indoor Environment: How Indoor Air Affects Your Productivity

December 20, 2021

5 min read
Have you ever had days where you’ve just felt unproductive? Like for whatever reason, you’re off your game and unable to meet the expectations you have for yourself?
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Why is indoor air quality important? It's important because indoor air quality affects your health and productivity.

If so, the good news is it might not be your fault! In fact, you could literally blame it on bad air! Or more specifically, having poor indoor air quality.

Indoor air quality affects your breathing patterns, comfort levels, respiratory system conditions, and your overall health (since oxygen is a vital resource transported throughout the body via your red blood cells). All these factors play a role in how healthy you feel and consequently, how effectively you can work.

Let’s take a closer look at how certain elements in the air—temperature, humidity, and pollution—can affect your productivity.

How Indoor Temperature Affects Productivity

To get the best work done, the room temperature has to have the right level of comfort: not too cozy that you start dozing off but not uncomfortable in such a way that distracts you or actively makes you feel unwell.

On one side, overly hot temperatures can make you sweat, leaving you either dehydrated and mentally fatigued, or agitated and irritable. This can be a problem especially if your work requires you to constantly interact with people. On the other side, excessively cold temperatures can send your body into a semi-hibernation sort of state where you feel slow, lethargic, and sleepy.

The right temperature can make you more productive and comfortable.

Various studies done around the world have shown that the supposed ideal workplace temperature is around 21-22°C, but in the Philippines where the general climate is hotter, Filipinos tend to find that a bit too cold. A temperature around 25°C has been found to be much more acceptable.

It’s not just a matter of feeling good for its own sake. Having the right temperature when working comes with remarkable results. A Cornell study showed that having work temperatures in the right range stimulates better productivity by decreasing typing errors by 44% and increasing typing output by 150%. That’s the power of a few degrees Celsius!

To boost your productivity, make sure you have a fan or AC ready to adjust the temperature so that it enables your best working moods and efficiency.

How Indoor Humidity Affects Productivity

Like with indoor temperature, the humidity indoors has to strike the right balance to bring out your maximum efficiency.

High humidity levels create the perfect environment for molds and dust mites to flourish, both of which can cause a great deal of harm to humans. Molds, if they’re left unchecked, will eventually release spores to spread out and multiply. If inhaled, these spores can cause clogged or runny noses, eye and skin irritations, and, if the mold is a particularly harmful type, severe lung damage. As for dust mites, they can be irritating, triggering allergy and asthma attacks. (Also Read: The Air Purifier Special: Keeping Your Home Safe During the Holidays)

High humidity can encourage mold and dust mite growth, which can cause allergies and asthma attacks.

Additionally, high humidity levels can cause sweat to linger on your skin, making you feel uncomfortable or even sick. If high humidity levels are combined with high temperatures, feelings of tiredness and lethargy are soon to follow.

Low humidity levels may not cause serious problems like high humidity levels do, but they can still be quite troublesome to deal with. If the air is too dry, your eyes and throat can start to dry out too, making your eyes sore and your breathing uncomfortable. It can also cause associated headaches.

Fortunately, managing humidity levels is relatively easy to address as many modern air conditioners are capable of condensing water vapor from the air for the purpose of dehumidifying. Furthermore, humidifiers and dehumidifiers are readily available depending on your specific needs.

How Indoor Air Pollution Affects Productivity

This may be surprising to those who live in smoke-heavy cities, but indoor air can actually be more polluted than outdoor air. That’s because once they’re brought indoors, many kinds of particles—some too small for the eye to easily notice—can linger in the air such as dust, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and animal dander. If you have allergies or a weak immune system, you’re probably already familiar with the typical nose and eye irritations, headaches, and sneezes, as well as diseases like the flu and the common cold. Whether you have to deal with an allergy attack or a mild but frustrating disease, both can definitely put a damper on your productivity.

How to reduce indoor air pollution: use HEPA air purifiers and a good air conditioning system.

And it’s not just your physical health that takes a hit; feeling ill by being affected by these particles just puts you in a bad mood and makes you feel awful. The fatigue, stress, and general malaise that accompanies allergic reactions and mild diseases can ruin your concentration and make work take longer than it should as you try to fight your own mind and body’s sluggishness.

It’s a good thing then that there are easy ways to deal with indoor air pollution! Aside from regular cleaning of the area, investing in an air purifier (particularly one with a high-efficiency particulate air [HEPA] filter) and/or a good aircon is a simple way to address most of your harmful air particle concerns. Both machines continuously cycle the air in the room while trapping most of the particles in their filters. As for foul odors and awful-smelling air, air purifiers with activated carbon filters will do the trick.

It doesn’t take much for a bad working environment, whether it’s at the office or at home, to slow our productivity levels to a crawl. On the upside, modern technology makes it relatively easy to tackle these problems head on. Adjusting temperature, fixing the humidity levels, and purifying the air—all can be done with the corresponding machine for the job. And if you’ve got one of each? Well, then you’ll be sure to be working at your peak productivity all day, every day!

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