Your Office, High in a Tree

Would you be more productive and decisive if your workspace was high in a tree? Perhaps you would.

Research at Texas A&M in the 1980's showed that having a view, especially a view of a natural scene, from your workspace resulted in increased feelings of well-being. Stress, anxiety, and boredom were all reduced by a real view, although a mere representation of a natural scene (painting, picture, screen-saver?) also had some impact.

Subsequent tests performed by the municipality of Sacramento, CA have shown that a good view produced a roughly 10% improvement in such mental functions as recall, decision making, and response time, and those with “no view” reported more feelings of fatigue. (Been there, done that.)

So much for the “a bunker office will help me focus”.

So, is there a certain type of landscape that the human psyche seems to favor? Actually, yes.

Eco-Psychologists Orians and Heerwagen later showed slides of various landscapes to a set of subjects. They showed forests, deserts, beaches, etc. The subjects consistently chose a savanna landscape as most desired to visit and/or live in.

A savanna is a mixture of spreading trees and grassland. Apparently, the savanna combines the best of all settings to the human mind. It has trees for safety and shade, yet plenty of sunlight. It has grassland to support herds of grazing animals, which strikes me as being a peaceful setting. It also allows one to see great distances without being seen, especially if you are high up in the tree.

I have tried this and can vouch for its effectiveness. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended.
So, my latest query is to see how I can integrate this concept into my future office designs, especially for the dreaded windowless office. Perhaps some savanna wallpaper anyone?