Nature deficit disorder may not be a term you are familiar with, but it really should be on your radar as it can have a detrimental impact on emotional, mental and physical health. British people will spend an average of 3,507 days at work, according to an article in The Independent, so connecting with nature is essential.
The theory that people possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature was originally suggested by American biologist, Edward O. Wilson in 1984. Since then the concept of biophilia has been embraced by workplaces worldwide in a bid to boost employee morale and wellbeing, thus increasing productivity over time.
Here are five tech tips to help boost wellbeing within the office and reduce the risk of nature deficit disorder:
1. Flexible remote working
In today’s world you can access the Internet from almost anywhere, even in remote locations. This means that companies can allow their employees to choose where and when they work. Enabling employees to go #FreeRangeATWork can result in a much better work-life balance.
One of my favourite things to do to feel connected with nature is to go forest bathing. No, that doesn’t mean taking a bath in the middle of a forest! It’s a practice that originated in Japan which simply means immersing yourself within a forest setting to reduce stress and build a sense of wellness. This can mean simply spending some time walking amongst trees and wildlife to reconnect with the great outdoors.
2. Wearable technology
Devices such as fitness trackers and smart watches are becoming much more commonplace nowadays. According to research conducted by YouGov in 2017, 17% of people in the UK owned some form of wearable technology. There are several benefits of introducing wearable technology for employees:
- Encourage employees to exercise. It is a well-known fact that increasing levels of physical activity can benefit both physical and mental health. Fitness trackers can motivate employees to increase their physical activity.
- Enhance staff wellness. There are several fitness trackers which can track a range of health-related data such as heart rate and sleep patterns. This provides employees with the information that they need to tackle issues before they start to have a significant impact of their wellbeing and job performance.
- Boost efficiency within the workplace. Wearable technology such as smart watches can provide employees with a wealth of information without the need to refer to a computer which can save valuable time and reduce screen time. In addition, they can also provide GPS navigation if needed.
3. Green walls
As well as making a design statement, green walls have numerous health and wellbeing benefits. Living green walls help to clean the air, reduce stress and provide a boost to productivity and creativity.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a living wall to boost wellbeing, artificial planting, preserved moss and having well placed potted plants throughout the office will work just as well.
4. Light it up
Research shows that 40% of Britons spend just 15 minutes outdoors each day. According to Forbes, there is evidence that a lack of natural sunlight has negative effects on both the body and the mind which can lead to conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Poor lighting is associated with several physical and mental health issues such as eye strain, headaches, fatigue, stress and anxiety.
If your workplace has limited access to natural daylight it is worth considering personal SAD lighting. Exposure to this cool white light in the workplace is a much healthier and more effective way of beating the mid-afternoon slump than relying on caffeine.
5. Better acoustics
In today’s modern offices acoustics play an integral part in creating a more efficient and effective working environment.
Too much noise can impact on your ability to perform at your best, and too little noise can also have a similar effect. It is vital that the right balance is struck to ensure that productivity and efficiency levels remain high.
One suggestion is to incorporate sounds of nature within your workplace. Whale noises might not be for everyone but perhaps some crashing waves or gently falling rain would be suitably soothing.
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Of course, the most effective way to battle nature deficit disorder to is get out into the great outdoors.
Make sure you find time within your day to embrace nature and go #FreeRangeATWork!