Modern workplaces are often centered in cities and can require prolonged screen-time. They can expose employees to a high degree of sensory stimulation which may lead to mental exhaustion. To lighten the sensory overload of your work environment and transform your workplace from a potential source of stress to a solution for it, try incorporating nature into your organizational culture.
You might do so by forming an employee walking group and going to the nearest park or green space during breaks. Alternatively, you could encourage employees to keep desk plants or to showcase natural scenes on their computer desktops. These small actions would energize employees by decreasing stress while increasing productivity.
If your organization is looking for a way to help employees unwind and unplug you can join the 30×30 Nature Challenge. This initiative from the David Suzuki Foundation encourages individuals to spend 30 minutes in nature for 30 days. In addition to providing daily tips for interacting with nature the Foundation also offers free workplace toolkits that include activity plans, posters and resources to help you implement the Challenge in your workplace.
Among the materials in the workplace toolkit is a global study that shows the benefits of biophilic design: a method of design that integrates natural elements into urban structures. According to the study employees with natural light or plants in their workspace report a 15% increase in creativity as compared to those without any links to nature. Meanwhile, research in neuroscience demonstrates that alpha wave activity, which signifies a relaxed but alert mental state, increases through interaction with nature.
For organizations looking to build new workplaces or enhance existing spaces, biophilic design makes a strong case for honouring ties to nature. To incorporate nature into your work environment you can use earthen tones for interior walls, and introduce indoor plants. You can also consider creating vertical gardens that optimize space planning or use organic moss materials to create an accent wall display. By converting your workplace into a green space you can promote the prosperity and productivity of employees, and attract bright new individuals as well!
Using nature to support workplace wellness is simple. Whether you choose to take meetings outside, with the added benefit of physical activity, or bring the outdoors into your workplace through biophilic design, connecting with nature provides measurable benefits to employee health.