Aus­tralian re­search proves wood is good for our health, well­be­ing and pro­duc­tiv­ity

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

The Planet Ark re­port – Wood – Na­ture In­spired De­sign – has out­lined the im­por­tance of con­nect­ing build­ings with the nat­u­ral world and how with bio­philic de­sign - also called ‘na­ture con­nected de­sign’ - and us­ing wood we can bring na­ture in­doors and pro­vide a health­ier, hap­pier en­vi­ron­ment for all. In­creas­ing ur­ban­i­sa­tion rates mean that peo­ple have less ac­cess to na­ture in their daily lives and Aus­tralians on av­er­age now spend over 90% of their time in­doors. This dis­con­nect with na­ture and the out­doors cor­re­sponds with re­ports of in­creas­ing lev­els of obe­sity and nearly half of Aus­tralians ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a men­tal health con­di­tion within their life­time. The health and hap­pi­ness ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with spend­ing time out­side in na­ture are well known and re­ported on by Planet Ark pre­vi­ously. This love of na­ture has been termed ‘bio­philia’ and ex­plains our in­nate need to con­nect with the nat­u­ral world. This re­la­tion­ship can be ex­tended into the built en­vi­ron­ment where we live, work, rest and play. A ground­break­ing Aus­tralian study has re­cently con­cluded that nat­u­ral-look­ing wooden sur­faces in the work­place are strongly as­so­ci­ated with in­creased em­ployee well­be­ing and sat­is­fac­tion, af­ford­ing po­ten­tial sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to their pro­duc­tiv­ity. That’s the take­away from re­search by strate­gic mar­ket re­search firm Pol­li­nate and the Univer­sity of Can­berra. Based on a sur­vey of 1000 in­door Aus­tralian work­ers, the re­search pro­vides new – and lo­cal – ev­i­dence to un­der­pin the busi­ness case that ex­po­sure to bio­philic el­e­ments and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als like wood helps to in­crease hu­man health and well­be­ing. The study found that the more nat­u­ral look­ing wooden sur­faces work­ers could see from their work­sta­tion, the higher their work­place sat­is­fac­tion and well­be­ing. In ad­di­tion, em­ploy­ees work­ing in of­fices with nat­u­ral wooden sur­faces on av­er­age also re­ported higher per­sonal pro­duc­tiv­ity, mood, con­cen­tra­tion, clar­ity, con­fi­dence and op­ti­mism. The ef­fect on well­be­ing was great­est when wood was used in com­bi­na­tion with other nat­u­ral el­e­ments such as plants, wa­ter fea­tures and nat­u­ral light. As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Jacki Schirmer from the Univer­sity of Can­berra said; “We know it’s good for us to spend time out­doors in­ter­act­ing with na­ture, but with peo­ple spend­ing so much time in­doors, there’s in­creas­ing recog­ni­tion of the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of bring­ing na­ture into the work­place and the home.” It’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear that re­spon­si­bly sourced (and cer­ti­fied) tim­ber has clear health and hap­pi­ness ben­e­fits, as well as be­ing a weapon in the strug­gle against cli­mate change by both stor­ing car­bon and re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions. For more in­for­ma­tion please visit

Photo cour­tesy TVAA

Geeve­ston Child and Fam­ily Cen­tre -

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