Greener Rooftops Make for Better Businesses – Or at Least Better Employees
May 29, 2015 Leave a comment
Environment has always played a big role in the success of businesses and the productivity of their employees. As it turns out, the outdoor aesthetics of an office matter to productivity as much as office culture and competent management.
The University of Melbourne recently released a study on the effects of “green roofs,” where building rooftops are covered with grass, gardens and low-growing plants. They found that workers who took as little as 40-second breaks to enjoy a green rooftop were more likely to come back to work in better moods and be more alert and efficient at their jobs.
Researchers gave 150 students menial tasks to do via computers – tasks the researchers described as “boring and attention-sapping.” Participants were then given 40-second breaks that included either a view of a green rooftop or a concrete one. Those who experienced the green roof came back to work both energized and focused on the second half of the experiment, as opposed to their concrete counterparts.
Test researcher Kate Lee says the purpose of the study was to see how office workers are best able to keep their attention and productivity intact.
“Our research was designed to test the boundaries of the attention-restoring capacity of nature,” she says. “It was informed by previous research showing concentration boosts after lush nature exposure of minutes-to-hours. Our results are exciting, however, as they demonstrate that brief glimpses of a high-rise green roof scene can boost attention, compared to a traditional city scene.”
While this study only covers a small sample of people, a greener ambiance is becoming more popular and sought after in the workplace. The green roof phenomenon has expanded worldwide and has taken over many major U.S. cities, such as New York, Chicago and Washington D.C., where the latter has installed more than 1.2 million square feet of rooftop greenery.