Could a house plant be the answer to increasing employee productivity? The workplace environment has long been studied to examine how physical surroundings impact productivity, creativity and emotional well-being. The desire to increase these qualities among employees has influenced emerging trends in workplace design. One such trend is the resurgence of biophilic design. The “biophilia hypothesis” was first popularized in 1984 by Harvard University Professor Edward O. Wilson. He hypothesized that humans have an innate urge to connect with nature. Unfortunately, most Americans spend much of their time indoors and far away from the natural world. However, recent studies suggest that bringing the outdoors into the workplace can have a positive effect on employees. Don’t let your corporate world of cubicles and florescent lighting get you down; there’s plenty of small ways to connect with nature during the work day.
Add Vegetation: Plants can improve the look of your work space, as well as the acoustics and the air quality. Some low maintenance options include spider plants, peace lilies and golden pothos.
Embrace Views: Outdoor views are ideal, but employees in a windowless environment can compensate with pictures of natural landscapes or focal walls full of outdoor images. These pictures can act as visual stimuli and have an effect similar to that of a window view.
Venture Outside: Bring your break into the great outdoors. Recent studies have found that outdoor breaks result in more stress reduction than indoor breaks. Take it a step further and go for an outdoor stroll to allow your muscles a “break” from sitting.
Tip: Make it a point to block off outside time on your work calendar. Putting a daily 15-minute appointment titled “Get Outside” on your calendar will make it much easier to commit to these breaks on busy days.
Written by: Mary Kavanaugh, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.