Nature in the workplace

Bringing nature into the workplace to benefit mental health

Spending time in green space or bringing nature into everyday life can benefit both mental and physical wellbeing. It can:

  • improve your mood
  • reduce feelings of stress or anger
  • help you take time out and feel more relaxed
  • improve your physical health
  • improve your confidence and self-esteem
  • help you be more active
  • help you make new connections
  • provide peer support.

So how can you incorporate nature into the workplace to reap the benefits?

Workplace Biophillia

It’s all based on the principle of biophilia — the instinctive affinity that humans have with the natural world and other living systems. And it’s easier to achieve at the office than you’d think.

Respondents to the Human Spaces Global Report who worked in environments with natural elements reported a 15% higher level of well-being, a 6% higher level of productivity and a 15% higher level of creativity

Bring nature inside

Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky, also maximising the amount of natural light you are exposed to.

Grow plants or flowers on windowsills. Have a plant on your desk.

Take photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as backgrounds on a mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.

Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall.

Do activities outdoors

Take a walk in green space, such as a local park on your dinner break

Eat meals outdoors, this might be something you could do as a team to encourage breaks to be taken, time away from screens and a chance to catch up on a social level rather than talk about work.

Try exercising outside or walking to or from work if possible, being mindful and taking in the sights, smells and sounds, clearing your mind.

Help the environment

Go on a litter picking walk, for example, make it a team event!

If you have an outdoor space at your workplace make a small garden and maybe build an animal habitat, for example, build a hedgehog house or create a pond if you have enough space.

The employee wellbeing agenda has taken off in a big way in the UK with many organisations making it a strategic priority. Increasing nature contact at work may offer a simple approach to enhance workplace health promotion efforts, Of course, all these measures have budget and time implications, but you’ll soon reap the rewards in the shape of happier, more productive staff.

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