Could green office features give staff a taste of outdoor working?

Could green office features give staff a taste of outdoor working?

Could green office features give staff a taste of outdoor working?

Businesses looking for ways to freshen up their workplace and simultaneously improve staff morale and productivity could benefit from introducing features that evoke being outdoors, such as plants, flowers, and plenty of fresh air and natural light.

According to a survey by online furniture retailer Alfresia, many workers see being stuck in an office for much of the day as a big drawback of their job.

As well as helping to cheer people up and encourage a sense of calm and contentment in the office, introducing natural features will show that the workplace is a clean, hygienic and eco-friendly place to be.

Businesses can further strengthen this idea by working with cleaning firms and service suppliers that have strong green credentials.

Detailed findings from the Alfresia survey of more than 2,000 UK employees showed that workers in financial services spend the least amount of time outside of any industry, managing to get out of the office for just 34 minutes a day on average.

Healthcare (48 minutes) was second in the list of sectors where outdoor time for staff is fairly limited, followed by IT (52 minutes), retail (71 minutes) and hospitality (88 minutes).

Unsurprisingly, construction is at the other end of the scale, with employees in this industry spending 303 minutes outside every day on average.

Nearly two out of three respondents (64 per cent) said the amount of time they spent outdoors during the working week had an impact on their mood and temperament. More than a third (35 per cent) said they considered it as a factor when applying for jobs.

Nic Jones, head of digital at Alfresia, pointed out that the amount of time people spend outdoors varies between industries and roles, not only because of the nature of the work but also as a result of hours worked.

He continued: "It is great to see those in construction enjoy an extended amount of time surrounded by mother nature. Those that are not as fortunate to have much time outdoors during their working day should take regular breaks from screens or equipment and make the effort to venture outdoors during their lunch break.

"Workplaces should encourage their staff to embrace the outdoors as much as possible while completing their jobs. Fresh air and sunshine have proven health benefits as well as boosting staff morale."

Through a combination of encouraging people to get as much fresh air as possible and making the office a clean, pleasant environment to work in, employers could reduce the risk of their staff suffering burnout.

In a recent report from AXA PPP Healthcare, burnout was characterised as a type of stress that combines physical, emotional or mental exhaustion with doubts around competence and the value of one's work.

Excessive working was highlighted as one of the key risk factors for this problem, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises. Nearly half (47 per cent) of employees in these firms said they regularly work four or more hours of overtime per week.


Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/Kavuto