Kate Humble supports new natural environment workplace project

A new research project, backed by Kate Humble and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has been launched to investigate how nature makes for a happier workforce.

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The Good Life Project aims to encourage adults to enjoy greater interaction with nature to help create a healthier, happier and more profitable working environment by exploring nature’s impact on people’s mental health, social relationships and physical well-being.

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Endorsed by the Soil Association, the project is designed to overcome the problem of workplace absenteeism by trying out a range of workplace initiatives based around the natural environment to measure the difference they make to an employee’s feeling of wellbeing. 

Broadcaster Kate Humble said: “I grew up in the countryside but had something of a ‘nature deficit’ when I lived and worked in London for twenty years.  I discovered that having less contact with the outdoors – Oxford Street didn’t count! – and with nature and all its seasonal changes, made me feel restless, disconnected and unhappy.  

“There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that tells us having contact with nature is good for us and our sense of well-being and I would certainly back that up, but if the research this project undertakes is able to prove that, it will be to the great advantage to everyone. I wish it every success and will be intrigued and excited to read its findings.”

Led by behaviour expert and author Jez Rose, along with a team of psychologists and neuro-scientists, Rose believes that many organisations are heading in the wrong direction: “Too many organisations are moving backwards – towards hot desks and banning personalisation of working spaces and even plants from the workplace. This flies in the face of years of evidence-based research proving that a connection to our natural environment is not only important but it also makes a huge difference to individual performance and well-being.”

He added: “Happy people are more productive and take fewer sick days, which ultimately means that if we can create environments which promote that, organisations will be more profitable too.”

The research will take place over six to twelve months, and The Good Life Project team are now looking for business organisations to be involved in the research, nominating colleagues to become ‘Good Life Ambassadors to feed back the impact of each intervention.

Work-place natural interventions will include; 

  • Using natural wall-art to measure the difference they make to stress levels within the workplace
  • Creating an indoor herb garden for employees to tend to and enjoy during downtime to measure emotional impact
  • Encouraging outdoor activity at lunchtimes and after work

Broadcaster and campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, said: “The Good Life Project is an inspiring one that throws light on a very important subject. It aims to demonstrate something I and many others already believe: that health and wellbeing are intricately bound up with our surroundings, and that a closer connection to the natural environment can improve and enrich our working lives.

“If we are happier and healthier at work, of course that has huge benefits for the rest of our lives too, so I very much look forward to seeing results of this research and the new directions they could lead us in.”

To find out more about The Good Life Project, visit www.thegoodlifeproject.info

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Image: Getty