The Power of Nature for Employee Wellbeing
As well as supporting businesses to address the climate emergency, the power of nature can be harnessed to enhance employee wellbeing. This toolkit outlines some of the benefits of doing so and explores possible interventions. It includes examples from Business in the Community (BITC) members Deloitte, Anglian Water, Eurovia UK Ltd and The Eden Project.
How nature can help improve mental health
Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year1 . Rebuilding our connection with nature can help provide a strong foundation for reducing the impact of mental health issues and increase overall wellbeing. This has come into sharp focus with the COVID-19 outbreak and a recent study found that nature contact ‘buffers’ the negative effects of lockdown on mental health2.
The business benefits of nature-based solutions
Business has a huge responsibility to go beyond a ‘do no harm’ model and restore nature in the face of the ecological crisis, widely referred to as the sixth mass extinction. The value of nature to business goes beyond responsible business practice. It is essential to long-term resilience in the face of climate change. As part of the IGNITION project, BITC produced the report Nature-based Solutions to the Climate Emergency in partnership with UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA). It details the many benefits and the value of nature to business. There is evidence in studies included in the IGNITION Nature-based solutions (NBS) Evidence Base that:
- there is a 15% increase in worker productivity when office spaces are enhanced with plants
- reaction times increase 12% when in the presence of plants
- employees with views of trees and landscapes took an average of 11 hours less sick leave per year than employees with no view. This equates to an average saving of around £1,600 ($2,000 reported) per employee
- workers with a view of nature handle calls 6-7% faster than those with no view. This generates annual productivity savings of around £2,400 ($2,990 reported) per employee
- 23% decrease in sick leave taken by employees with a view of nature.
The IGNITION Project
BITC is one of 12 partners on the IGNITION project that is working to identify innovative solutions to financing urban nature-based solutions, based in Greater Manchester. The project is funded by the EU Urban Innovative Actions fund. This toolkit has been created for business as part of the project.
Business in the Community’s (BITC’s) Challenge 2030 campaign calls on businesses to put tackling the climate crisis at the heart of building back responsibly after COVID-19 . This will enable us to we build the resilience of communities and together make the climate crisis history.
WHAT IF TAKING ACTION ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS
WAS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS?
- NHS England (n.d) Adult and older adult mental health
- Pouso, S., Borja, Á., Fleming, L., Gómez-Baggethun, E., White, M. and Uyarra, M., (2021), Contact with blue-green spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown beneficial for mental health. Science of The Total Environment, vol. 756, 20 February 2021, 143984.
Greening Your Workspace
This Guide to Greening your Workspace toolkit introduces some of the ways that businesses can use nature-based solutions to contribute towards a Green recovery.
How To Deliver A Carbon Friendly Workplace Transition
How to deliver a carbon friendly, post-COVID-19 workplace transition that limits waste, protects the environment, and benefits employee health and wellbeing.