The average Australian works 40 hours a week. How they feel while they are at work, therefore, has a big impact on how they feel during the other parts of their life. Being content and happy at work depends on a number elements and one of those, surprisingly, is nature.
Planet Ark's new report, titled Needing Trees - The Nature of Happiness and launched in the lead up to National Tree Day with support from Toyota, examines research showing how workplaces can increase nature contact and therefore, increase worker happiness.
Here are 4 ways to grow nature time and happiness at work.
Planet Ark's research shows that unhappy workers spend 34% less time outside than their happy colleagues. The simple message then is to get outside more often. It can be as simple as eating lunch in a park or going for a walk around the block. The research also shows daily nature time is habit forming.
As well as clearing the air, reducing noise and looking good, indoor plants also have a positive effect on workers' feelings of wellbeing. Being surrounded by plants helps improve concentration, reduce feelings of fatigue and stimulate creativity. It doesn't matter whether the plants are in pots on a desk or built into a vertical garden.
No one likes sitting in endless meetings and it's becoming increasingly clear that sitting for extended periods is bad for health, putting workers at risk of heart disease and even diabetes. So why not take your meetings to the hallway, or better still, the streets. Walking meetings are becoming increasingly popular and they tend to be shorter, which can't be a bad thing.
Getting outside more often is the gold standard for workplace nature time but if that's difficult the good news is that simply looking at natural features, like trees and gardens, also has a positive effect on mood, concentration and efficiency. Workplaces can set desks up to look out the window or hang lots of pictures or photos of natural scenery.
These four simple actions come from research Planet Ark has undertaken over the years for National Tree Day. All the research reports are available on the Tree Day site. This year's report specifically focuses on happiness and the 2014 report, Valuing Trees - How Much is Nature Worth focuses on the benefits of indoor plants and outside breaks.
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