Written by Akeem Brown, National Client Relationship Coordinator, Wellness Works Canada
Who would’ve thought you can engineer happiness? Perhaps happiness is too vague, it could be joy, vitality, mood or attitude. Whichever of those adjectives’ jives with you the best, there is good news: we know how to design it into the workplace.
When we think about the built environment, we think about what we can control in the design - building materials, furniture and lighting. However, while important, these aspects pale in comparison to the only aspect of the built environment which is not built: green and blue spaces.
What are Green and Blue Spaces?
Green and Blue spaces are any space where the grass grows and water flows. They include parks, fields, woods, hills, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. They all have one thing in common. And that is nobody builds them. Yes, some developers or city officials with substantial resources can make a man-made lake or terraform a field into a walkable park, but, most organizations only need to worry about proximity and use of that space.
Why are they important?
A wide array of studies recently conducted show a high correlation to green and blue space access and happiness. As one could deduce, happy people are more productive people.
Beyond happiness, access to green space can encourage exploration and physical activity. Increased physical activity has been tied to improved creativity and optimism among mental advantages.
Simple daily movements associated with these spaces, repeated over time can lower the risks of obesity, diabetes, and many other diseases.
The most important aspect of the built environment you can control is your proximity to green and blue spaces and the use of that space. You likely cannot build these spaces, so your next best option is to find them and use them. Doing so will allow people to tap into the 8th wonder of the natural world: mother nature.
Use the green and blue spaces near your workplace and encourage others to do the same
Plan green and blue time into the daily schedule through walking meetings or during breaks
Map out the surrounding area for green and blue space
About the Author
Akeem is a proud Canadian who grew up understanding the paradox of health: the harder you work on your health, the harder you can work on everything else.
He played basketball and football growing up and remain active to this day. He has a close group of friends while always looking to make new connections.
As he grew he understood how powerful sports and recreation was in his life so he decided to study it at the University of Alberta. He is now months away from receiving his bachelors. He is also a certified Workplace Health and Performance Ambassador (WHPA).
His interests include real estate, film making and art. He believes that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas and enjoys having conversations that have the potential to challenge his beliefs.