According to the latest studies, spending time outside (especially in beautiful and warm summer weather) can significantly improve our performance in the office. Study that was carried out by Harvard Business Review shows that this idea is giving results and it seems that some companies in the United States are thinking of introducing this practice at weekly level.
The experiment itself was quite interesting and definitely not something that we see every day – 150 people that participated in the study were asked to complete a simple exercise – whenever certain number shows on the screen they must hit the specific keystroke on the keyboard. As you can see, the experiment was not as interesting as you first imagine, but it is what came after that that has shown the results of the study – the test subjects were doing the exercise for five minutes and then they were given a break of 40 seconds. During the 40-second break, half of all participants were shown a simple screensaver that had an image of concrete rom, while the other half was shown a screensaver with beautiful landscape.
After watching the screensaver for 40 seconds, both groups returned to do the task once again. The group that was watching the concrete room was 8 percent less accurate and slower, while the other group was able to outperform them by 6 percent in both speed and accuracy. One of the researchers that worked on the study states that the results clearly show that people who are exposed to nature in small brakes while on work can really increase their overall productivity and speed.
The reason is simple – we all work in crowded and noisy urban environments, that can really add more stress to our already stressful lives. This is also the main reason why people who work in crowded cities feel so relaxed and at ease when they are far from the city, in the nature.
Similar study was carried out in Japan, at Chiba University. That study has shown that people who appreciate nature are happier and healthier. The study was quite interesting – it involved one of the Japanese practices called “forest bathing”. It was carried out in 24 different forests with 280 test subjects. All participants were divided into two groups and one was sent into the city and one into the forests – the next day the groups would switch places. The results have shown that people who spent time in the forest had lower blood pressure, lower pulse rate and lower amount of cortisol. In simple terms – all those who have been in the forest were more relaxed and more calm than those who have spent time in the city.
These two studies have also shown why working remotely is great – people are able to choose where will they work – they could work from home or even rent a place outside the city, where they will be more productive and more satisfied with the work. It is safe to expect that in the near future most of the world will work from home and these two studies just show how beneficial it could be.