Can you bring the outside inside?

Scotland in winter. Cabin fever. You’ll be noticing the shorter daylight hours, and more people falling prone to SAD syndrome as the lack of sunlight affects their wellbeing. We all enjoy getting outdoors into the fresh air and sunshine. It makes us feel good. But let’s face it, if you live and work in Scotland then this can be a struggle in winter time when it feels like you go to work and come home in the dark.

So, what about bringing the outside inside in your workplace? Yes, having some plants around the office looks nice, but there are loads of other ways in which you can introduce nature into your office, and there are some tangible benefits for your team: a 15% higher level of wellbeing and a 6% increase in productivity.[1] Studies have also shown benefits in terms of attracting and retaining staff, and their overall wellbeing. Happy days.

We can’t all copy Apple and create a tree-filled UFO style office, so here are six practical tips for creating a natural environment within your office:

  • Think lighting: take a look at your office and see how you can improve the access to natural light and make it a bright airy space. This can have a hugely beneficial impact on wellbeing and our energy levels, and you’ll be using less artificial light
  • Plants, plants and more plants: don’t just stick an umbrella plant in a corner and forget to water it. See where you can add greenery on shelves, in your reception, in chill out zones, staff cafes and on desks. The increased oxygen levels help concentration and make the air feel fresher too
  • Choose natural colours: browns, greens and earthy tones can be incorporated into your interior design for walls, floors and furniture, or perhaps you’ll go the blues, yellows and whites of the sky or the beach
  • Create an outdoor space: can you find somewhere for people to get outside and refresh their minds, perhaps a balcony, rockery or a vegetable garden. If you have space and budget, think about some seating and tables that will even allow people to work outside if they want to
  • Use natural materials: wood is an obvious choice, but also stone, slate, grass and even water. You can also make a difference with the colours and textures that you use, choosing fabrics that mimic wildlife and the natural world. On top of the obvious natural benefits, it looks pretty stylish too

As a primal wellness coach, I know that we have an instinctive bond with nature and our natural surroundings. Heading off for a forest walk, or training in the park immediately improves my morale and just lifts the soul. I’m lucky that my job is mainly outdoors. Why not bring the outside inside at your work?

[1] “The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean Office Space”

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