We have body systems that are regulated by the natural environment. Spending about 90% of our time indoors, and around 70% of our waking hours at work, makes it difficult for our body systems to function effectively to remain in synch.Here are some things you can do to set up your workplace and support you where you need it most.
According to biologist E. O. Wilson, biophilia is the innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world. In other words, it’s in our genes, we need to be in touch with nature.
These days, due to urbanization, and spending 90% of our time indoors, we have very little interaction with nature.
Biophilia is beneficial for concentration and productivity, and also aids in the proper function of body systems.
It’s not just about seeing nature, we also need to feel, smell, touch and hear it. Biophilia appeals to all our senses and supports us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
The good news is, we don’t have to be sitting in the middle of a forest to receive the benefits. We can get the same effects with artificial plants, images and pictures, faux timber table tops, abstracts, colours of nature and even listening to nature sounds.
These days, most offices operate in an open plan format, making it difficult to focus and concentrate.
Distracting noise can reduce productivity by 66%. But what concerns me more, is the effect this has on our physical, mental and emotional self.
Long term exposure can be stressful, cause anxiety and even make us angry, all contributing to a negative impact on our health and wellbeing.
Allocating quiet rooms or different spaces for different ways of working contribute to us feeling more supported and having a place we can escape to when we need to concentrate or just get some quiet time.
If you haven’t yet heard about circadian rhythms, let me give you an introduction.
Circadian rhythms regulate our sleep/wake cycle, hormone secretion and enzyme activity.
They are kept in check by the 24-hour daylight cycle. This information is received into the body by photoreceptors in our eyes called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs for short).
Spending over 70% at work, we are subjected to artificial lighting and rarely get the opportunity to be exposed to the frequency and colour of natural daylight.
This is desynchronising our circadian rhythms which can cause obesity, diabetes, depression and metabolic disorders.
Exposure to bright light at night (like looking at the blue screen of your phone or computer) can cause circadian phase disruption, which in turn can create sleep issues.
These days, your office lighting can be designed to support circadian rhythms, changing colour as the day progresses to mimic natural daylight.
Other ways to support you can be as simple as;
- Looking at the sun in the morning and the sunset in the evening to re set your circadian rhythms.
- Take short walks and breaks outside.
- Relocate to a desk closer to natural light.
- Use the night shift setting on your mobile phone to change the screen colour from blue light to yellow light. (Mine is set from 7.00pm to 7.00am.)
- Investing in a pair of blue light filter glasses for computer work.
The Carousel would like to thank Eminè Mehmet for her story.
Eminè is a wellbeing strategist, speaker and writer. Known as the GO TO PERSON FOR WELLBEING, for over three years Eminè has applied her 20 plus years of knowledge and expertise of the built environment and people as a strategist in the wellbeing space. Her intention is create environments that support health and wellbeing as a positive impact on people. Eminè has a unique ability to connect to people on a fundamental level through her activating presentations , enabling change and transformation. ‘Wellbeing is the next step up from sustainability and It’s not just about physical health. It’s more holistic than that, covering the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental wellbeing of a person.’ says Eminè.