A couple of years ago, there was a trend to streamline office environments, with words like ‘agile’ and ‘lean’ being thrown around. Maximum efficiency with minimum disruption, paperless offices (!!!), all buzz words from a few years ago. Roll forward to now and there are studies aplenty about how we humans are really losing our connections with nature. One such study, entitled ‘The relative benefits of green versus lean office space’, conducted by the American Psychological Association, concluded that ‘offices devoid of pictures, souvenirs or any other distractions are “the most toxic space” you can put a human into’.
Warwick University have more recently been studying the office environment and our connections and associations with nature and one of the lead researchers states ‘People spend a lot of time at work and their environment definitely affects them. So if pleasant scenery makes people feel better, there’s a good case that the ‘scenicness’ of their working environment will have a similar effect’. We need to have nature near to us, and more importantly, we need to remember it’s there, all around us.
So here’s the wakeup call.
Get back to nature, buy a house plant for your desk, ask Siri for your nearest park or recreation ground or change your PC wallpaper to something beautiful and scenic. Don’t skip your next lunch break because you’re busy, or have too much to do, or need to make a phone (*insert eight million other excuses) – and next time you’re on the road and thinking to yourself that you should just keep driving, get to the next meeting early – DON’T. Go out for a walk, find a local park, pull up at the services and go and sit in sunshine, buy a copy of National Geographic, pull up in a layby and get out of the car, stretch and just look up at the sky and watch the clouds go by… just give yourself five minutes to admire this amazing planet.
For the science bit ‘Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation’ go to http://www.pnas.org/content/112/28/8567.abstract
Does a pretty office make a productive workforce? Article – The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/feb/10/office-beautiful-pretty-views-employees-productive
Quantifying the impact of scenic environments on health – http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16899