It’s time to bring the outdoors into your office, with proven wellbeing benefits from prominently using wood in your workplace.

According to University conducted research, using natural-looking wooden surfaces in the workplace can positively enhance employee health and wellbeing. The study reveals offices that utilise one of the world’s oldest materials can promote similar physiological and psychological benefits to spending time amongst nature. Not only could it help boost work satisfaction, it can increase productivity, concentration, clarity, confidence and optimism amongst employees.

Here we unlock the key benefits from embracing nature within the confines of your office walls.

Health and wellbeing

Canberra University Associate Professor, Jacki Schirmer, explains the profound benefits on staff through making your workplace more open-woodland, than cubicle box. “People working in spaces with high proportions of wooden surfaces have a heightened sense of wellbeing and productivity. They’re also more likely to find their workplaces relaxing, inviting and energising.”

Similar to the way indoor plants can help ease stress, indoor wood surfaces can also improve physiological health. It was revealed that 82% of workers who were exposed to eight or more wooden surfaces in their office were either ‘satisfied or very satisfied’ with their work, compared with only 53% of workers with no wooden surfaces present in their workplace.

In a recent fit out for MotoNovo in Cardiff, we mixed different wooden textures and furnishings in the reception area to boost the feeling of relaxation, for both employees and clients as they entered the office.

The natural warmth and calm that wood evokes can have a profound impact on physical wellbeing, from lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, to alleviating stress. These health benefits resonate through all levels of an organisation; helping to encourage positive social interactions and increased productivity, to reducing stress-related absenteeism.  After all, a healthy employee is a happy one!

Boosting biophilia

Office feng shui is considerably enhanced when natural wooden surfaces are mixed with other biophilic elements, such as plants and natural light. These natural elements provoke equally important physical responses; from the feeling of alertness provided from an increase in oxygen, to the increased melatonin produced in the presence of natural light. Simply put, nature makes us feel good and relaxed.

Even the presence of an image of nature can stimulate the benefits associated with incorporating biophilic finishes into your fit out. The study concluded that the more types of natural elements people were exposed to, the better employees’ satisfaction and overall wellbeing will be.

On trend

People are starting to take note of how important incorporating nature is in our everyday lives, and we’re seeing more wood used for fixtures and furnishings in modern offices. Also, drawing on the appreciation of hand-crafted and unique pieces, it’s clear that wood is here to stay.

Wood’s timeless quality makes it a solid choice for furniture, or as a finish to your office which not only complements your organisation’s design but also tells the story of its own origins.

Next time you’re considering a feature wall, boardroom table or some accentuated desks - using natural wooden finishes will not only look good, but help boost your staff’s morale, productivity and overall wellbeing.  

A representative sample of 1000 indoor workers participated in the research conducted by market research firm Pollinate and University of Canberra.