Architect and workplace strategy expert Leigh Stringer gives businesses advice on how to create a healthy work environment that fosters creativity and productivity in this episode of the Business Review.
(New installments of the Business Review are on hold due to Covid-19. This is a repeat of a previously aired segment.)
Bringing the outside in — and bringing the inside out — are two powerful ways that organizations can help encourage well-being among employees. Workplace strategy expert leigh stringer says being in nature, or creating space that looks like nature, can have physical and psychological effects that are incredibly beneficial.
“The research that’s gone into connecting creativity and great ideas, thinking outside the box, all those sorts of things, with being outdoors and being in nature. It’s only the last 300 years that we moved indoors in our workplace. And so our DNA and the way that our brains work, we really do
connect much more to things that are natural. It’s our preference as humans to be in and among nature."
Stringer advises companies to create green spaces for employees to breathe fresh air, walk and meditate, or just listen to the sounds of nature. Indoors, she recommends incorporating natural light, designing open meeting spaces, and using fabrics and artwork that mimic nature. The long-term effects of even a brief immersion in nature include reduced stress and improvements in heart rate, cholesterol levels and mood—and thus, productivity in the workplace.
“It doesn’t have to be real nature to have the same psychological benefits to us. Bringing as much of the outdoors inside as possible, and creating places outdoors for people to work as well. A little bit goes a long way, and I think that’s a great reminder for all of us how that connection with nature is so powerful.”
The Business Review is a production of KWBU, Livingston & McKay, and the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.