We all know that oxygen is essential for life, but do we know how to maximize our intake of it to increase our productivity?
According to research by the Human Cognitive Neuroscience unit at the University of Northumbria, inhaling oxygen before taking on a difficult task improved cognitive performance considerably. In this specific example, oxygen was given to participants before a memory test, and results showed that those who inhaled oxygen before the test remembered more than those who didn’t.
Here are some concepts of how oxygen levels can be optimized to increase engagement and productivity in the workplace:
1. Breathing Efficiently
According to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, many people feel anxious and stressed because they don’t focus on breathing with their diaphragm, and therefore don’t fill their lungs to their full capacity, which leads to less oxygen being taken up into the bloodstream.
By not focusing on “belly breathing”, we live our lives only “shallow breathing” in the upper part of our chests instead, which leads to even more stress and anxiety, as the body isn’t able to take it the maximum amount of oxygen. By concentrating on deep abdominal breathing, you’re able to create what is known as full oxygen exchange, which means that you’ll naturally boost your oxygen levels for increased cognitive ability.
In practice, this could mean taking time out to do breathing exercises yourself, or implementing yoga, breathing or meditation sessions in the workplace. To back up claims of the effectiveness of these kinds of classes, a case study conducted in the offices of American health insurer Aetna shows that regular yoga and meditation classes reduced employee stress levels and lead to greater productivity, metrics that were all measured with the help of the company’s in-house medical officer.
2. Ways to Purify the Air Around Us
Regularly monitoring the quality of the air around using intelligent devices is one way to create awareness about interior air quality. TZOA– which we’ve featured on this blog before-works by monitoring air quality and transmitting this data to your smartphone. While these kinds of devices can be expensive, low-cost devices like the Clarity PM2.5 Sensor can be used by a wider majority to monitor the quality of the air around them, in addition to a number of air quality monitoring apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
With big data analytics playing a role in managing industrial data, oxygen levels could also be monitored and analyzed over a certain period of time in an office environment to get an idea of the types of factors that influence air quality, using sensors and sensor data analytic software like Splunk, or Breezometer.
Some additional developments in nanotechnology include paint made of titanium dioxide that purifies air through a chemical reaction. Used in the interior of offices, and in especially polluted areas of cities, this could have a remarkable effect on the quality of the air we breathe, and the amount of oxygen we are able to take in. Other means of purifying interior air quality include using bamboo charcoal, a substance that is also used to absorb toxins in the body. Products such as the Moso Bag can be used easily in a range of different indoor environments, from your office to your fridge. The only proviso is that these bags of charcoal need to be taken outside and regularly “rejuvenated” in the sun.
The above are just some suggestions on how to maximize oxygen resources and productivity in the workplace, and can also be used to help to eliminate what is known as “Sick Building Syndrome”, a general term given to the feelings of ill health associated with a less than ideal working environment. While eliminating all kinds of indoor pollution is a constant challenge, future developments and improvements in technology, and a greater awareness of well-being, will no doubt contribute towards better office environment management, and consequently greater levels of productivity.