Nature Contact Boosts Worker Productivity, Global Study Reveals
The past few years have seen a significant shift in the workforce, with many of us exploring different ways of working. The pandemic-induced lockdowns have led to a realization of the potential of remote work, with a staggering 98 percent of workers expressing a desire to continue working remotely, as per Forbes. However, the quest for an ideal work environment, one that fosters efficiency, reduces stress, and enhances productivity, is still ongoing. While technological advancements like the electric height adjustable standing desk have been game-changers, an age-old resource that is often overlooked could be the key to boosting productivity: nature.
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review by Anthony Klotz, Shawn McClean, and Pok Man Tang, there’s a profound link between contact with nature and worker productivity. The researchers analyzed workplaces in the U.S., Canada, China, New Zealand, and Indonesia, assessing the level of workers’ interaction with nature in their office environment. This interaction ranged from being around plants to hearing the sound of running water. The study found a significant correlation between exposure to nature and improved worker productivity and well-being.
The researchers further conducted an experiment where they placed potted plants near some desks and office supplies near others. The outcome was fascinating: workers who had even a single plant near their desk reported enhanced creativity and improved performance. This finding suggests that even the smallest amount of nature can make a difference.
A new term has emerged in the corporate world: Corporate Green. It signifies the next step in reinventing the workplace by integrating nature into office spaces. Companies are investing in transforming their workspaces to promote a greater connection with nature. For instance, outdoor gear company L.L. Bean spent over $110 million to redesign their Maine headquarters after realizing that 90 percent of their employees lacked access to natural light. The revamped space now features windows all around and a large internal courtyard that brings the outdoors inside.
In London’s Canary Wharf business district, an architecture firm plans to introduce a “green spine” to break the monotony of skyscrapers and concrete. This includes adding parks, gardens, and waterside access throughout the district, with opportunities for paddleboarding and kayaking.
However, you don’t need a corporate budget to bring nature into your workspace. The study highlighted that even a hint of nature can provide a boost. Even artificial plants were reported to have a positive impact. If you work from home, there are simple and cost-effective ways to enhance your work environment. Positioning your workspace near natural light or adding a small plant can significantly improve your productivity. Design elements that mimic nature, such as fractal patterns found in pine cones or broccoli, can also help reduce anxiety and promote concentration.
In conclusion, while the luxury of working with a beach view may not be feasible for everyone, the potent effects of nature mean that even the smallest connections can enhance our workday experience. Whether you’re working from home or have returned to the office, it’s crucial to be aware of how our environment influences us. That faux fern in the corner might be contributing more to your productivity than you think. So, when considering how to choose the best standing desk or the best sit stand desk for your workspace, remember to also consider how you can incorporate a touch of nature into your work environment.