The air we breathe: a low-tech solution for home workers

Air quality in the office has become a hot topic for managers, employees and designers, with a growing awareness of its importance to our health. But what about for those working from home?

As a consequence of both the pandemic and the climate crisis, more and more attention is being paid to the impact of poor air quality on health. The WHO states that 99 per cent of the world’s population currently breathe in air that is below recommended air quality levels. This means that drastic action must be taken to improve the quality of the air that we breathe.

Within the workplace, air quality monitoring has become the norm for office spaces and is a key concern for employees – with a survey by Honeywell suggesting that 72 per cent of workers are worried about the effects of poor air quality on their health.

However, as employees work remotely more regularly, the impact of air quality within the home may also be significantly affecting worker’s health. And unlike in offices where facilities management teams can analyse data and take action on behalf of an entire building, at home the data collected from air quality monitoring could be overwhelming and users may feel unable to tackle the problem by themselves.

Watch the Birdie

In order to help solve this problem, two Danish designers have created Birdie, a simple tool designed to notify workers when their environment has become too stuffy and prompt them to crack open a window.

The tool can be mounted on a wall and when the air in the room is fresh, the bird stands tall on its perch, but if a room starts to get stuffy the bird will begin to droop, notifying the household to take steps to improve the workplace environment. With a built-in CO2 monitor, Birdie is inspired by miners who would take a canary down the mine with them and if it fainted then they knew it was time for the miners to escape.

The health benefits of improving ventilation in your home are not insignificant, with Birdie claiming to improve concentration and productivity, quality of sleep and prevent asthma, allergies and headaches.

Read more about the latest tech innovations in WORKTECH Academy’s monthly Technology Review in our member-only Innovation Zone here.

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