A common mistake in office productivity is starting with productivity systems and then creating a productive environment. As researchers are discovering, a far more effective method is to begin with a productive environment and then use systems.
The same is true of comfort. All the comfort and relaxation exercises in the world will do little to improve your comfort and reduce your stress levels if you spend all of your time in a tense, uncomfortable environment during the workday.
A key aspect of making your work environment more productive, comfortable and enjoyable is adding nature. From natural light to natural building materials, in this post we’ll share four ways you can create a more relaxing, comfortable workplace.
Use natural building and decorating materials
The most stressful offices and workplaces tend to be the least natural. Think of the artificial white ceilings of the offices of the 1980s and 1990s or the linoleum floors of late 20th century buildings.
Artificial materials, as it turns out, are more than just unappealing aesthetically – in many cases, they make people more stressed and less comfortable. Natural building materials, on the other hand, have the opposite effect.
There’s a reason interior designers link natural wooden flooring with relaxation and comfort. Using natural building and decorating materials, from flooring to a wooden recessed ceiling, will have a huge positive effect on your office’s comfort level.
Let plenty of natural light enter your workplace
The health benefits of natural light are many – it improves productivity and focus, it strengthens the immune system and, for many people, it provides a heightened and improved sense of alertness and energy.
It also plays a massive role in encouraging us to relax and feel comfortable. Research shows that lack of exposure to natural light in the workplace increases the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream, increasing stress levels.
Reasonable levels of natural light exposure, on the other hand, have the opposite effect. By lighting your office with sunlight, you won’t just create a more focused, productive workplace – you’ll also create a more relaxed and comfortable one.
“Green” your office with plenty of natural plants
Just like natural light improves productivity, plant life has a huge positive effect on your workforce’s focus and energy levels. The greener your office is, to a reasonable extent, the greater its total productivity will be.
Having a green office, with plenty of natural plant life, also has health benefits. The chemicals released from many common office plants clean the air in your office and make it far healthier for your body and mind.
Many office plants also have mental benefits. As well as increasing comfort levels and reducing stress, peppermint – an easy plant to maintain in the office – is linked with increased mental performance and improved alertness.
Open the windows for fresher, healthier air
Have you ever felt uncomfortable and unproductive in a stuffy office? It’s not just a lack of natural light that slows down our minds in the workplace – a lack of natural air can also cause us to work below our capacity.
Stuffy, humid or musty office air can reduce your office’s productivity and comfort level to a significant extent. Studies show that air pollution is often twice as bad on the inside of your office as it is outside, largely due to a lack of air flow.
Need to refresh and relax? Instead of switching on the air conditioning, try opening a window to introduce some fresh air into your office. It might not seem like much, but it can have a huge impact on your health, productivity level and comfort.