You may not realise it, but the environment you work in can have a huge impact on many elements of your working day, whether you’re office-based or working from home. Stress levels, productivity and general health and well-being can all be affected if your workspace is dull and gloomy.
Many office spaces today are open-plan, modern and spacious, but many lack the touches that can make people feel comfortable and relaxed in their work, stripping workers of their connection to the natural environment. Similarly at home, many opt to keep their office space sparse and void of distraction.
Studies, including one carried out by psychologists at universities in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands, have shown that adding even just a splash of greenery to an office space can have a huge positive impact on employees’ performance and overall mood.
Natural light can also have the same effect, with one study conducted by researchers in Chicago, concluding that there is a strong relationship between exposure to daylight within the workspace and office workers’ sleep, activity, productivity and general quality of life.
The main benefits of adding both greenery and natural light to your workspace are:
Improve overall health and well-being – the quality of the view from a person’s desk and their exposure to natural light can see a huge drop in health problems including headaches, eye strain and blurred vision, according to a study by professors at Cornell University. The increased health and well-being of staff can, as a result, see a direct reduction in absenteeism and presenteeism.
Improve productivity and morale within the workplace – nature and light can help to get you more psychologically engaged and therefore help you carry out your work more effectively and efficiently.
Reduce the risk of stress, depression and anxiety – exposure to natural daylight, as well as the calming effect of plants, can have a positive impact on your mood, stress levels and even blood pressure.
Help to boost creativity – some studies have shown that looking at plants or at the outside world can help to make employees concentrate better and feel more relaxed, therefore helping their brains to engage more clearly.
So next time you head to your office or workspace, take along a plant to keep you company on your desk and make sure you let as much natural light in as possible. Even if you don’t have a window nearby, make sure you take breaks and step outside as regularly as possible, or even into a room with windows that allows the natural light in.
Without realising it, these small steps could help you become happier, more relaxed and more productive during your working days.