Who hasn’t heard of Marie Kondo in the past couple of years?
If you haven’t heard about the life-changing magic of tidying up, you may have been living under a rock. The KonMari method has taken the world by (a very neat, tidy, contained) storm, and it has many of us rethinking the things we surround ourselves with day in and day out.
One of the key tenets of Kondo’s method is that you should surround yourself only with items that spark joy in you – that give you a sense of calm, gratitude, delight. When it comes to office space, it can be difficult to find a lot of joy in file cabinets and staplers. And, if you’re on a budget, it can be difficult to come up with ways to make your office look and feel joy-filled.
Enhancing your office space with natural elements can make a big difference, elevating your mood and enhancing your productivity. We’ve put together some tips on ways you can bring nature into your office space.
1. Take Advantage of Natural Light.
Office spaces with windows aren’t just for executives. Anyone and everyone can benefit from having access to natural light in their office space.
And, according to a study of employee benefits, natural light is the number one most-craved office perk. So, if you have great windows and you make them accessible to your staff, maybe you don’t have to worry about buying that foosball table or stocking up on electrolyte water!
Speaking of windows, we absolutely love the beautiful, traditional windows in Swan Tower – tons of natural light is a hallmark for this location, along with the building’s gorgeous hand-painted ceiling murals.
2. Bring Plants into Your Office Space.
The Spheres is a ground-breaking Amazon workspace.
The entire office is a curated indoor jungle, where more than 40,000 different plants grow and bloom throughout. The pioneering tech giant created this space with a goal of inspiring creativity and boosting innovative thinking.
While you may not have the Amazonian budget needed to cultivate a full indoor jungle, you can certainly brighten up your space and your mental state by bringing in some plants. Our top tips when it comes to plants are:
- Watch out for heavy pollinators: you don’t want to set off your allergies, or those of your colleagues.
- Don’t pick plants that are high maintenance: you need to be able to miss watering over the weekend or if you’re on a vacation.
- Consider your available space: Hanging baskets or window sill potting can be good options if you’re constrained by space.
- Pick your plants based on the amount of light they need to thrive. Even if you don’t have a well-lit space, there are still plant options (like bromeliads and philodendron) that can help you keep your space green and your productive thoughts flowing.
3. Harness the Power of Water.
Have you ever wondered why so many waiting rooms contain fish tanks?
Yes, kids love them, but you’ll also often see them at places like car dealerships or dentists’ offices. Why?
They just are more than decoration. The calming movements of fish in a fish tank can actually help to lower blood pressure and anxiety, and to have a positive impact on hyperactivity in children – both of which are useful in a waiting room setting or in an office.
After a particularly frustrating conference call or meeting, we think you owe it to yourself to enjoy a moment of silence and serenity with your aquatic allies.
4. Find an Office with Outdoor Spaces.
If you can’t bring the outdoors in with you, find a place where you can escape frequently and find a moment of respite during a busy or stressful day.
At newly constructed 1091 Main, a two-story winter garden has been designed to give tenants and guest access to a little cache of green and growing things even when Buffalo is buried under our customary coat of winter snow.
Even finding a spot nearby where you can take a lunchtime walk can make a world of difference in your outlook. Many of the tenants at the Mohawk Building, for example, will walk down to Lafayette Square for lunch – getting both a bite to eat and a breath of fresh air to sustain them through the remainder of the afternoon in the office.
5. Fake it.
Obviously, actually interacting with natural elements is best, but if it’s not an option, you can still find a few workarounds that could create an oasis in your office space. Some of our favorite ideas include using relaxing, nature-based artwork in your office spaces; using mirrors or glass to create optical illusions of additional space; and cutting down on harsh, fluorescent overhead lighting.
If you have any outdoor or shared space available near your office, making it accessible to employees and encouraging breaks in these areas can give your team members a much-needed refresh and reset during a long workday.
When you’re deciding whether to make an investment in natural enhancements for your office space, consider this: employees who are exposed to nature in the course of their workday call in less often, and report higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of work-related stress. A few plants can’t solve all your workplace dilemmas, of course, but research seems to indicate that they can certainly help.