You walk into your office building, phone already buzzing in pocket, emails quickly filling the inbox you left empty, and take a deep breath. It could be the start of one of those days, but it is not. Soft music calms you as you stroll through the lobby, complimentary coffee waits for you in the kitchen, and a row of lush greenery lines the hallway leading to your desk. In WaveOffice’s flexible office space, every design element has a purpose beyond aesthetics. The office greenery is more than just décor; it is mindfully placed to increase your workday performance, promote social cohesion, and improve well-being. With community and wellness essential to the WaveOffice co-working experience, there is no question why the common spaces feel so green. Here’s how nature in the office is proven to positively affect your physical, cognitive, and social health.
GREENERY POSITIVELY ALTERS YOUR PERCEPTIONS
Indoor plants are as effective as healthy eating and physical activity in regulating the body. In fact, research shows that individuals who work alongside an office plant for a year are likely to decrease their fatigue, eye irritation, dry skin, and headaches by 28%. This positive impact on the body is partially due to the psychological value of being in view of nature. For example, a recent study found that hospital patients experienced decreased levels of pain and shorter recovery times simply when exposed to natural scenery from a window. Interestingly, the patients perceived their air quality to be healthier despite it not actually being better, and the environment to be more pleasant because of their natural views. Plants positively alter our perceptions, ultimately leading us to feel and be healthier.
PLANTS IMPROVE CONCENTRATION & REDUCE STRESS
Urban environments contain a myriad of unavoidable and sudden distractions: sirens, people, traffic, signage, construction. It can be difficult to maintain focus when it is constantly demanded by so many stimuli at once. On the contrary, plants grab your attention naturally in a way that is scientifically proven to spark a soft fascination and replenish your concentration. In effect, individuals with office plants experience a 15% increase in productivity compared to their colleagues in non-plant workspaces.
Furthermore, office plants lead people to feel less stressed – dramatically less stressed. A study by the Nursery and Garden Industry concluded that plant-owners showed stress reductions on a magnitude of 30%-60%, while plantless staff recorded stress increases of 20%-40%. Surprisingly, active and passive exposure to plants are equally beneficial; so even if you opt out of owning a desk plant, merely looking at pictures of nature or working from a space with green views will prove advantageous.
GREEN SPACES PROMOTE COMMUNITY
Has a beautiful day ever lured you and your colleagues to the local park for lunch? If so, you are a first-hand witness to how urban green spaces promote social engagement and community. Urban Greening Research discovered that “more social activities were observed in urban common spaces that had trees compared to treeless spaces of the same size.” In fact, urban dwellers “disliked and feared” empty spaces that lacked greenery. Being tethered to indoor workspaces can feel alienating, but urban greenery allows people to perceive their environment as more comfortable. In green environments, individuals are more likely to engage in positive social interactions that lead to social cohesion, social capital, and critical health-promoting behaviors.
Humans have a natural affinity to nature, and for good reason. Although our flexible office spaces are highly coveted due to their accessible urban locations, they are purposefully designed with a green thumb to promote the physical, mental, and social health of our customers. This is seen in our inclusion of plants in a variety of spaces, including offices, lobbies, and green rooftops. No matter where your workplace is currently, sprucing it up with a little greenery is sure to go a long way.