Research by Yin, Jie; Yuan, Jing; Arfaei, Nastaran; Catalano, Paul; Allen, Joseph & Spengler, John (2020). Effects of biophilic indoor environment on stress and anxiety recovery: A between-subjects experiment in virtual reality. Environment International,136, 105427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.10542
Written by Robin N. Fatovic M.S.
What changes can you make to your office to reduce anxiety during the workday?
Researchers wanted to know if an office space with plant life would impact stress levels. 100people used virtual reality to view four different office spaces after engaging in stressful tasks. In their virtual offices, Group A had no plant life or windows, B had plants without windows, C had just windows with a nature view, and D had both plants and a nature view. Body sensors identified the degree of the body’s physical stress response and the participants completed surveys about their perceived stress.
Results? People who were virtually in an office space with plant life or views of nature were better able to recover after a stressful task. Having plants in the room was more effective at improving physical stress, like lowering blood pressure, while having an outdoor view of nature was better at reducing mental anxiety.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed at work, so connecting with nature might help ground you. Have a plant or a nice outdoor view in your office. It’s crucial in managing your work stress!