Exposure to Trees and Nature Linked to Improved Attitudes and Well-Being Among Employees

Ever get sick of staring at the walls in your cubicle? Ever feel blah and mentally drained at work? You’re not alone. Studies show that workplace environment contributes to employee health and can influence your attitude and mood.

Some researchers suggest humans have an innate need to be connected with nature. This is called biophilia. But as housing density, commute times, and office hours increase, we are spending less and less time in natural environments.

Workplace stress costs American businesses up to US $190 billion every year in healthcare costs alone. This is why bringing nature into the office can have such a big impact on employee well-being.

Employees who have a view of nature from their desk experience a multitude of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

1) Increased self-esteem and mood, 2). find their job more challenging, 3) are less frustrated about tasks, 4) feel greater enthusiasm for the job, 5) report feelings of higher life satisfaction, 6) report better overall health than their coworkers without a view, and 7). Increased productivity at work. Additionally, desk workers without a view of nature claim 23% more incidences of illness over a six-month period.

Image result for indoor office environment with a view of nature outside

Exposure to nature and trees also reduces employee stress. Employees that have more contact to nature at work report significantly less perceived stress and health problems associated with stress. Studies have shown that stress influences mental health as well as increases chances of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. This tells us that trees and nature play a critical role in our well-being and that their importance cannot be understated.

Employers can increase employee attitudes, health and well-being by simply changing the work environment in a way that increases employees views of nature/trees. Incorporating nature into the workplace can take many different forms including living green walls, indoor trees/plants and planter boxes. Even views of nature on television screens or art can positively impact mood and well-being. Additional ideas to implement the concept may include increasing access to views by lowering or eliminating cubical walls and swapping rooms that block views with an open-concept type layout.  Employers could even take it a step further by increasing the landscaping surrounding the building, such as planting large canopy trees that can be seen from multiple locations and levels. If employers want to provide a place for their employees to relax and walk on their lunch hour, they could even create a trail with seating areas outside.

Image result for office environment with nature outside

Increased exposure to nature is perhaps the most simple and rewarding gift an employer can give to their employees. The gift of health and happiness is one that cannot be topped.

For more information on the benefits of nature in the workplace, click here. 

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