Jul 3, 2018
Apart from looking great in the workplace, wood as a material has been found to also improve the productivity of employees. Whether it be the furniture, the flooring, the coasters, or even your pen holder, selecting products made from sustainably sourced, certified wood can have a very real and positive impact on how you work.
Intuitively, it is easy to see how the rich, warm tones of good, solid wood in your everyday surroundings can make you feel better in general, and hence more likely to work efficiently. Plastic, metal and chipboard products, even when incorporated into the workplace, simply do not have the same calming, natural aesthetic of wood.
Perhaps our long history of using and being around this completely natural material has hard-wired our brains into feeling more at ease in its presence. In fact, a recent study distributed by Planet Ark by Planet Ark’s Make it Wood notes that productivity can be increased by up to 15 percent simply by incorporating wood into office design.
Based on the study’s findings, here are six ways wood inspires a healthier wellbeing:
Conducted by Sydney social research firm pollinate, the survey found that around 66 percent of employees in Australia who work indoors spend most of their day in an office. However, employees who worked in offices that have more wood as part of the décor have higher levels of work satisfaction. Job fulfilment and its positive impact on productivity is already well-established — happier people make for more effective workers. And yet, the study shows that around a third of Australian workers are still not satisfied with their working lives.
Just a simple step of surrounding yourself with wood in subtle ways may do a lot to improve your productivity.
The study found that around 25 percent of Australian workers take sick leave when they simply just don’t feel like going to work. Since satisfaction and wellbeing levels are higher in workplaces with more wood incorporated into the design, workers are less likely to stay absent if they are surrounded by these touches. Employees also tend to have fewer ‘real’ sick days.
The study noted that biophilic elements in the workplace design has a positive effect on how people feel about their surroundings. Biophilic design is based on the idea that humans are naturally inclined to connect with nature, and seek to incorporate natural elements into the built environment.
If including nature is such an intrinsic need for us, it is hardly surprising that staff attendance improves when real wood can be found around the space. Since workers cannot be productive if they are not present, creating an environment where people enjoy spending their time, can go a long way in improving productivity.
Workplaces with wood are both calming and stimulating in the best of ways. Working in an environment with nature-similar lighting and the exposed grain of solid wood sets our minds and bodies at ease and ready to tackle real work. Less mental effort is expended on overcoming negative feelings that are stronger when the workplace is defined by cold, harsh lighting and unseemly and steely (even if practical) furniture and objects. Workers can think and learn better as well as be more creative in spaces with wood and other biophilic elements
With Australians spending more than 90 percent of their time indoors and not enough time outdoors unwinding from their work and other tasks, stress levels are bound to rise. While increasing time spent outdoors is important, one part of the solution definitely lies in improving indoor spaces. With Australian workers reporting lower levels of stress when they work in offices with wood as part of the design, clearly wood has something to offer here.
Workers report a greater level of confidence when they are surrounded by wood, and this translates to higher levels of productivity. When an employee’s experience at a workplace is positive and their space upholds their sense of self, the confidence this brings to how they approach their work is priceless. Feeling confident in your surroundings plays a greater role than simply getting work done efficiently.
Using sustainably-sourced wood as an alternative to plastic, metal or chipboard products is good for the environment, but also good for you. Using solid wood is not just about making a statement, but about creating spaces where we are better able to realise our potential.
Wood in the workplace has been found to improve productivity in real and tangible ways, making it a material of true and lasting value. When so much rests upon how productive we are and how great we feel, why resist our instinct to bring the outside into the office?