Sourced from CEO Magazine
The humble office pot plant, previously much maligned and neglected, has made a comeback, not because of an increase in enthusiasm for office horticulture, but because research has shown that having contact with nature is good for our mood, boosts our attention, lowers stress and increases productivity.
Going green is good for business.
Ten years ago, statistics revealed one in five adult Australians to be at risk of developing a mental illness in any 12 months. Today, the level of corporate stress is such that over three million Australians are battling high levels of stress, anxiety and or depression.
Many workplace health and wellbeing programs have focused on boosting mental health with discounted gym memberships, lunchtime massages and encouraging staff to take their vacations when due, but workplace design that considers the availability of natural light and access to nature also has an important role to play.
While getting away for a short weekend break to spend time in a green space is a great way to refresh and re-energise, these are often too sporadic to be of sufficient benefit to maintain a positive mood and minimise the risk of burnout or stress-related illness.
Going green is good because:
1. Greenery restores attention.
Working in front of a computer screen for long periods exhausts the brain, increases the perception of time passing too quickly and heightens stress.
Regularly spending an hour walking and interacting with nature has been found to boost attention by 15% and memory by up to 20%.
That’s why taking time out to go for a walk outside or moving to a space where there is visible greenery helps to restore attention, improve problem solving, increase creativity and assist in overcoming attention fatigue.
In addition, studies have shown that looking out of the window onto a green space (whether a tree-lined street or a green city roof), or looking at the pot plant on your desk for 40 seconds is sufficient to restore attention.
Even if the pot plant isn’t on your desk, having it in your peripheral vision will be of benefit.