Green Workspaces: Benefits for Health and Productivity

A firm in New York City has designed its office to promote health, wellness, productivity, and employee happiness. Will this be the way of the future?

The First of Many More?

The company’s name is Primary and they pride themselves as being the first wellness-centered workspace. They’re promote green living and optimum health by providing yoga classes, ergonomic furniture, bike racks, and organic salads. Meditation is encouraged, acupuncture is offered, and there are even showers and changing rooms.

Of course, not every company or school can provide such an abundance of holistic benefits. But heading in that direction is a positive step. Hopefully, soon-gone will be the days of classrooms and offices having no natural light, drab walls, and too few opportunities for bodily movement.

Mental Benefits

It’s an extreme effort to attend to a task 100%. That’s why we become mentally exhausted. Focusing on something like a tree, a picture of a sailboat, or a photo of kittens doesn’t require effort. Images, which don’t require brain effort, actually let our brain rest. We regain our ability to focus on more difficult tasks. This is one argument for classrooms and offices to be functional green spaces.

According to research from the University of Illinois (Department of Landscape Architecture), students learn and perform better on exams if they have the accessibility to see greenery. And according to Urban Greening Research at the University of Washington, adult office workers report less illness and more enthusiasm for their job when there’s opportunity for access to green space or nature during the workday.

Restorative Environments

Results of these studies hope to encourage improved school and office design, as well as break-time spent outdoors. More windows, green walkways, and small parks can create a “nature” setting in an urban environment. Courtyards can be “greened-up” by painting benches, hanging flower terrariums, and even adding bonsai trees. Indoor plants work wonders, adding a calming effect, more oxygen, and removing toxins from the air.

Besides those elements, restoration can occur from practicing yoga, meditation, eating fresh foods, and being surrounding by others with a positive energy. It’s a great time to update your personal workspace. In fact, dropping a hint (or a copy of this article) to your boss may affect positive improvement in your workplace too.