I love it when I find more scientific proof for something I strongly believe in intuitively.
Two studies done in Norway demonstrated that attention tasks and reading tasks were better performed when subjects where sitting at a desk surrounded by plants and flowers, compared to sitting at a bare desk. Performance and productivity was boosted even more when surrounded by flowers and plants and the desk was near a window with a view of nature.
The Restorative Power of Nature
How does this work? Rachel and Steven Kaplan, psychologists at the University of Michigan, developed an “attention restoration theory”: When your brain is focused on something that requires a lot of attention, it uses a lot of energy which can lead to mental fatigue. Working while mentally fatigued is more difficult and less productive. When you give yourself mini-breaks and shift your attention to things that requires indirect or effortless attention, your brain is able to renew itself. Nature offers you this type of “absorbing, restorative distraction.”
With a few potted plants or a bunch of flowers from your local flower shop, supermarket or your own garden; or move your desk nearer to a window with a view of nature, or at least the sky, you can add restorative breaks to your workday and increase your productivity. Not to mention enjoying the pure pleasure elements of nature bring into your office and your life.
That was simple.
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photo by stooart