Does fresh air help employees to be happy at work?

Does fresh air help employees to be happy at work?

May 18, 2024

I write this watching the league one playoffs where Oxford United face Bolton Wanderers to see who will be in the Championship next season. Its a beautiful day in Wembley and I’ve just observed that I hope for the players sake, this doesn’t go for penalties as it looks like a warm one.

Watching football as much as we do in our family, it makes you wonder whether being outside makes players happy at work.

The link between fresh air and happiness

We do know that there is a notable link between the amount of fresh air employees receive and their overall happiness at work. Several studies have shown that access to fresh air and well-ventilated work environments can significantly impact employees’ physical health, mental well-being, and overall job satisfaction. Here are some key points that highlight this connection:

  1. Improved Air Quality and Health:
    • Fresh air reduces the concentration of indoor pollutants and CO2 levels, which can lead to fewer headaches, respiratory issues, and other health problems.
    • Better health means fewer sick days and higher productivity.
  2. Mental Well-being:
    • Access to fresh air and natural light can reduce stress and anxiety.
    • It can improve mood and overall mental health, contributing to a more positive outlook at work.
  3. Enhanced Cognitive Function:
    • Studies have shown that good ventilation and access to fresh air can improve cognitive function, including better decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
    • Employees are more alert and focused, which can lead to better job performance and satisfaction.
  4. Job Satisfaction and Engagement:
    • A comfortable and healthy work environment, including access to fresh air, can make employees feel more valued and appreciated.
    • This can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased engagement, and reduced turnover rates.
  5. Biophilic Design:
    • Incorporating natural elements, such as plants and access to outdoor spaces, can enhance the work environment.
    • Biophilic design principles, which emphasize connection to nature, are linked to increased happiness and well-being.

Supporting Research

  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a study that found improved cognitive function in office workers exposed to higher ventilation rates, lower levels of indoor pollutants, and higher levels of CO2.
  • World Green Building Council reported that better indoor air quality could lead to productivity improvements of 8-11%.
  • Journal of Environmental Psychology published findings that office plants and natural light, both associated with better air quality, are linked to higher employee satisfaction and well-being.

Practical Implications for Employers

Employers can enhance their work environments by:

  • Ensuring proper ventilation systems are in place.
  • Encouraging breaks outdoors where possible.
  • Incorporating plants and green spaces within the office.
  • Designing workspaces with windows and natural light sources.

If your a Day Nursery this could mean adopting free flow, spending large amounts of the day outside with the children, having real plants rather than fake ones.

Here’s another article on the importance of workplace culture.

If we can be of any assistance with any aspect of managing people, please give us a call on 01527 909436.

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