Do you recognize the word biophilia? If not, you probably recognize its definition: a natural human affinity for and love of nature. Even the most urban-bound of us find pleasure in the beauty and calm of green, living things, evidenced by our shared enjoyment of parks, forests, and gardens.
Research has shown that nature is a soothing force for humans and that more exposure to green, living things can spell better health and greater happiness. In this two-part series, we'll review how creating a workplace full of green can help improve your employees' productivity, happiness, and health.
When we think of "going green," reducing waste, and environmental impact comes to mind. But there's more to an environmentally-minded company than recycling, although these things are crucial. What about making your workplace a green sanctuary that can positively impact not only your employees, but the air and world around you?
According to recent research by Stephen R. Kellert, "direct exposure" to plants and other natural elements in the workplace result in "significant productivity gains, less absenteeism, less health problems, and a better sense of well-being." When employees, companies, and the environment all benefit, what could be better?
Plants are natural cleaners. When they make food and energy from the air, they bring with them toxins and chemicals. In the process, they rid the air of toxic substances and convert them to clean energy to grow. Dr. Margaret Burchett, an internationally-recognized researcher in the field of air quality, speculates that indoor plants will become "standard technology" for businesses in the near future.
Well-sealed office buildings, especially in the winter, are full of carbon dioxide. This not only leaves employees drowsy and unproductive, it also contributes negatively to overall health. During photosynthesis, plants naturally exchange carbon dioxide from the air to release oxygen. Maybe the answer to the 3pm slump isn't another cup of dehydrating coffee: maybe it's a walk through the office to smell the (perhaps literal) roses.