Why You Should Add Some Nature To Your Office
In Ontario, 39% of workers would not tell their managers if they were experiencing mental health problems. A survey published by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shows employees are feeling unmotivated to give it their all due to mental health issues. This is estimated to cost Canadian employers $14.4 billion annually for treatment and lost productivity, not to mention the estimated $22 billion a year expected to be lost due to mentally troubled employees arriving at work and accomplishing little.
This article is going to explore a remedy for those that are unmotivated: adding nature or natural elements to your office. You’ll learn that despite the above estimated costs, there is a cost effective natural countermeasure.
HOW NATURE AFFECTS OUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
The stress of an unpleasant workspace can elevate your blood pressure and heart rate. It creates anxiety and depression, while also suppressing your immune system. Nature not only prevents that, but can reverse some of the damage.
These differences are causing more and more institutions to study how nature positively affects us. Public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell found that simply looking at a tree while hospitalized caused patients to feel less pain, and experience accelerated recovery.
A LITTLE SUNSHINE GOES A LONG WAY
We often hear about the damage sunlight can cause, but in small doses, sunshine is a powerful tool. In fact, many researchers have found that ten minutes of sunlight in the morning is not only good for you mentally, but physically as well. Top perks of sunlight include:
Vitamin D is important for our bones, immune system, and blood cells. It also allows our body to better absorb other nutrients. Ten minutes in the sun is often enough to boost our daily levels.
Sunshine also helps to set your body’s internal clock. Waking up to sunlight helps us fall asleep quicker that night and sleep more soundly. It might sound funny to hear that sunshine is a great cure for insomnia, but it works.
Weight loss efforts are improved when people spend 15 minutes in the sun in the morning, and then again at lunch time. Scientists believe the sun’s rays shrink the size of fat cells right below the skin. Additionally, if you’re spending time outside, it’s more likely that you’re being active.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is often treated with sunshine or lamps that simulate natural light. It’s been proven to increase serotonin as well as energy.
HOW MUCH NATURE IS NEEDED?
Researchers at Central Michigan University studied hundreds of workers, focusing on the natural elements in their workspace. This could be as simple as a window with a view, office plants, prints depicting nature, etc. The data found that those exposed to natural elements in the office experienced less depression. They were also more committed to their jobs than people not exposed to nature in the office.
This is reassuring since buying a couple of plants for the office is very easy and affordable. If there’s a lack of natural light throughout the office, think about adding some plants to your reception area. Employees walking by, or working in, lush spaces throughout the day will benefit mentally.