How the Environment is Influencing our Work Experience

Katharina Graf, M.Sc student clinical psychology

Have you ever wondered how the environment is influencing your functioning?

The average employee is working 40 hours per week for 45 years. This adds up to a total of 93600 hours. Meaning, on average we spend 20% of our waking hours at work. Let us investigate the environmental stimuli at work that influence us on a daily basis more thoroughly.

 Color

The work environment is a crucial aspect, immensely influencing employees' job satisfaction (Kwallek et al. 2005). Color seems to be a contributing factor to individuals’ mood and productivity, as it affects their feelings of comfort (Walters et al., 1982). Interestingly, warm colors, especially red, tend to produce higher anxiety and arousal levels. (Kwallek et al. 2005). Beyond that, red is linked with danger and elicits avoidance reactions. This again impedes performance and influences one’s ability to engage in cognitive tasks (e.g., working memory, attentional interference, creativity, and verbal reasoning). Conversely, the colors blue and green were found to be even beneficial for creativity. Cool colors such as blue, stimulate lower levels of anxiety and arousal (Kwallek et al. 2005). However, the color-effect may differ with the task’s level of difficulty. Not to mention, persistent exposure to a certain color is likely to result in habituation. Which sequentially, may reduce the color-effect (Elliot & Maier, 2014).

Natural vs. Urban Environment

Imagine walking through a green and lively forest. You can hear the comforting sound of nature’s silence: The wind, the birds, rustling branches, and a splashing stream nearby. You take a deep breath, absorbing the moment. What do you notice? Relaxation?

Even the mere imagination of this natural world seems to result in reduced stress hormone levels. Above this, visualizing a naturalistic setting can even foster emotional balance and improve one’s overall well-being. Actively exploring nature outside has been shown to balance one’s circadian rhythm, reduce blood pressure, and again, reduce stress (Pešelj et al., 2016). In contrast, urban environments and views tend to reduce emotional well-being and significantly aggravate sadness in the context of stress (Roger, 2007). Once in a while it is however equally satisfying to work in the city with it's lively and exciting atmosphere. Finishing projects while being surrounded by different people in a cafe can be not only socially nourishing but also very productive. To wind this up, your work location of choice is likely to highly depend on your mood and situation.

How we implement these findings in our products: 

For us, it is not the highest priority to simply sell a product. Rather, we want to increase your well-being at work through our mobile workplace. Based on the findings of environmental impacts on our functioning, we created the opportunity for everyone to reduce their stress, by working with their Woppie in a naturalistic setting such as a park, forest, or garden. A mobile workstation allows you to work wherever you like. You can go off to a quiet place and step out of the restless world. Or you can enjoy the social and exciting atmosphere of the city. With Woppie - It’s your own decision. If you are interested, we invite you to explore our Woppie-Collection and start to choose your own work location. It is time to change our way of working. Let us enjoy the benefits of nature while feeling relaxed and productive rather than stressed.

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