When we were young, surely all of us heard our parents saying “money doesn’t grow on trees”. But what if it does? No, this article is not about a mystical tree the leaves of which are 100 dollar bills, neither it is about how you can make money from the tree in your lawn, although that might be an interesting read.
Rather, it is about biophilia and how nature can add to your productivity. You must be thinking, “What? How can nature help me perform better at work?” It’s true nevertheless. But let’s first talk about the question on your mind,
What is Biophilia?
Biophilia as a hypothesis suggests that there is an innate tendency in humans to seek a connection with nature, meaning that we are attracted to nature and wish to affiliate with other forms of life. This idea was proposed by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in 1973 and later covered by biologist Edward O Wilson in his 1984 book, Biophilia. The theory has become largely popular in the past few years with several organizations including biophilia in the architecture of their buildings.
(Image Courtesy: The Herbal Resources)
Is There Any Proof?
Some researches have been conducted in the past few years to see the effects of nature on our general well-being and productivity. One study concluded that leveraging our connection to nature helped in education, health care as well as business. One analysis performed at a university building in Oregon found that employees, who worked on that side of the building which faced greenery, took 19 percent fewer sick leaves as compared to the workers in the rest of the building. Other evidence suggested that patients with bipolar disorder, who were accommodated in naturally lit rooms, were discharged several days sooner than patients in other rooms.
Another study was carried out at the University of Oregon where they put employees of all levels in three types of offices. One group enjoyed vistas of trees whereas another saw only streets, buildings, and parking lot. The third group only looked at the interiors of the building with absolutely zero outside view. It was observed that employees who enjoyed views of trees took significantly fewer leaves than those with no view.
A Norwegian research which took place around the mid-1990s also supported the positive impact of nature in the workplace on employees’ health. The two-year study on 60 employees had half of them work in a green office with planted window box and another half in a regular office. It was observed that employees, who worked amidst greenery, showed 23 percent fewer neuropsychological symptoms and experienced 30 percent lesser fatigue than those, who worked in a regular office.
(Image Courtesy: Michigan Health Lab)
One Plant Can Save Your Life
One study conducted in an assisted living facility concluded that the life expectancy of their patients increased when they were given a plant to take care of.
(Image Courtesy: Gardening in India)
What Should You Do?
When people capture a beautiful view, they are more likely to spend time at their desk, leading to higher productivity. If you run a small organization and are troubled by the staggering absenteeism of your employees due to health issues or lack of motivation, try incorporating nature into your office space. You do not have to spend lavishly necessarily. Though swaying trees and gushing water work better in lowering stress and improving concentration and productivity, even small changes like tiny plants at desk, natural lighting and circulating fresh air can prove to have huge impacts on the health of employees.
If you are an employee, try to make some space for a small plant at your desk. Or, a short break for a leisurely walk in a garden near your office won’t do any harm. Just do not lose yourself in the computer screen, and try to connect with nature whenever possible, even if in a small way.
(Image Courtesy: Daily Mail)
Do let us know what you think about Biophilia through the comments section below; we would love to hear from you. Also, do not forget to vote in the poll.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Eligible Magazine)