Butterfly landing on pink and yellow flower

Why Bring Nature Back in the Office?

It dawned on me several years ago, after spending a few hours laying on the grass in the arboretum at my alma matter:  nature had refreshed me. Trees, leaves, branches, creek, shrubs, vines, grasses, all were bent, crooked and so lovely colored. It struck me because for a moment I was transported into another world. The usual view from my office consisted of square monitors, windows, desks, doors, in shades of white or gray. So, I wondered if nature can be brought in the office, and if it can have the same relaxing, refreshing and inspiring effect there.

It turns out, art in the office increases well-being and restores mental energy. Stephen Colarelli’s research [1] at Central Michigan University supports the notion that “Nature has restorative effects, making people feel better in a variety of ways.” Researchers [2] at University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, found that even a forty second glimpse at nature had increased attention span and fewer errors. Another study [3], specifically about the role of landscape posters in the office, found that one in four American workers is chronically angry.  Researchers discovered that subjects with art posters in their field of view were less frustrated by anger-provoking computer tasks than their counterparts without the art.

Beyond reducing office stress and improving morale, office art also boosts productivity.  Just looking at photographs of nature can unlock creativity, which in turn can boost brain performance and give way to new ideas and innovations.  Biophilia, the innate human attraction to nature, has been recognized by scientists for some time as contributing to health and productivity.  Environmental psychologist Dr. Craig Knight and his team of researchers [4] found that workers in the office with art and plants worked 15% more quickly than those in office environments that were considered simply functional.

So, why bring nature back in the office?  The increase in overall well-being, attention span, and productivity are just a few of the reasons to bring nature in your office. Clearly a win for both employers and employees! You can be sure we will follow up on this trend and bring you more insights about nature in the work place.

 

[1] https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_your_office_needs_more_nature

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494415000328

[3] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916506298797

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2016/jan/21/art-works-how-art-in-the-office-boosts-staff-productivity