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Reconnecting with nature ‘can boost employee performance’

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For many thousands of years, human beings – and their ancestors – lived out in the wild, living off the land and using whatever resources they could for survival.

Nowadays, with centuries of scientific and technological advancement behind us, Brits live in an advanced, educated and industrialised society.

But still, the way we have evolved means we often hark back to a more primitive state – albeit often in our subconscious thoughts and feelings.

Researcher Edward Wilson certainly thinks so – through his studies of biophilia, he has developed insight into the types of environments people are comfortable in and choose to create for themselves.

After years of investigating the environmental conditions people are most happy in, he discovered the same responses kept occurring.

Given the choice, humans would always place themselves in a location with a nice view, close to facilities and amenities, in and amongst vegetation and with a water source nearby, Mr Jones found.

But how does this relate to business, and the way we work?

Kenneth Freeman, international technical director at Ambius, suggested that the principles of biophilia can be highly relevant, in terms of managing the wellbeing of employees.

Company bosses are eager to maximise the productivity of their staff, and in order to do so, it can be a good idea to create a working environment they are comfortable with.

“It’s only been two or three hundred years since we started living in big cities and working in factories and being totally divorced from the place where we evolved,” Mr Freeman noted.

He suggested that, biologically, people need to be amongst nature because that is where their food, fuel and resources originally came from.

“By pulling people out of that and living in these really artificial conditions – you get biological discomfort – this disconnection from where we ought to be,” Mr Freeman added.

Office space in London couldn’t be further away from a river glen or forest, but it’s amazing what a few plants and water features can do to create a positive vibe.

By reconnecting with nature through their office design and layout, employers may be able to put their staff at ease and create a positive working environment.