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A new project is working with employers to measure the impact that exposure to the natural environment has on employee wellbeing and productivity. Project leader Jez Rose explains how the initiative has come about.
Over the past five years, I have been increasingly involved in advising on and assisting in developing culture change projects. Organisations are more aware than ever of the impact of environment on our behaviour and, in turn, our productivity and wellbeing.
The scientific interest, studies and research into the effect of nature on wellbeing has received much international academic attention from the likes of the American Psychological Association and Cornell and Stanford Universities. One key study often cited found that office workers with a view of nature liked their jobs more, enjoyed better health and reported greater life satisfaction. It may seem overly simplistic, but the scientific evidence is irrefutable and has been mounting since the 1970s, when psychologists first became interested in the influence of restorative environments.
Businesses are invited to take part in The Good Life project
The study, which is endorsed by The Soil Association, is looking at how to improve employee wellbeing by trying out a range of workplace initiatives based around the natural environment to see how they affect an employee’s feeling of wellbeing. The Good Life is inviting businesses who would like to be involved to get in touch. For more information and to enrol, please visit the website.
Evidence-based studies, such as MacKerron and Mourato (2013), have demonstrated that happy people are more productive and that nature is not only hugely beneficial to wellbeing but actually promotes it. Yet, despite the body of evidence supporting the benefits of exposure to nature, many organisations still, for example, prohibit personalising desks and the presence of plants – two easy things that can have remarkable, positive effects.
Keeping it simple is key – all too often organisations believe that to achieve positive, efficacious culture change they must seek advanced, complex and inevitably expensive consultation and physical changes. It is perhaps telling then that creating environments where people can thrive, do their job well and experience high sel