There’s something about sitting behind a mahogany desk. You sit up a bit taller and feel important, and this suddenly fills you with the desire to live up to significance by getting your head down and working hard. But what is it exactly that makes us feel this way, and is it just mahogany desks that have this effect?

The Workplaces: Wellness + Wood = Productivity report suggests that weaving wood into the workplace boosts wellbeing, job satisfaction, and productivity.

According to Smart Company, the report builds on the biophilia hypothesis popularised by Edward Wilson. He argued that “humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.” So, it seems understandable that delivering these desired connections through office design can have a positive impact on employees.


Wood boosts happiness


Research recently discussed by Workplace Insight highlighted just how little time British workers spend outside. When excluding the commute, nearly 40% of office employees spend a maximum of just 15 minutes outside every day, while 22% spend a maximum of 30 minutes outdoors. What’s more, on average, the British worker spends more time at their desk (6.8 hours) than in bed (6.4 hours).

While the Wellness report found that more than a third of respondents were unsatisfied with their physical working environment, those who worked in an office with more wood reported higher levels of satisfaction, had more positive associations with their workplace, higher levels of wellbeing, higher concentration levels, and improved moods and personal productivity.







Wood in the workplace pushes productivity


Productivity is a key concern for businesses, especially in the summer months, so it’s not surprising that companies are interested in how they can improve in this area.

The report showed that productivity can increase by 15% when biophilic design is incorporated into the workplace. Those that work in such an office, being exposed to more wood, reported having better stress levels and a better overall mood.


How to incorporate wood into your office


Unless you’re already planning a complete office redesign, ripping up carpets or replacing structural elements with wood is probably too big a task. There are, of course, many simpler ways in which you can weave wood into the working environment.

Nearly three quarters of respondents said they could see at least one ‘natural looking’ wooden item from their workspace. From where they sit, nearly half (45%) said they could see a wooden desk, while 39% have a view of wooden tables and wood shelving or cupboards.

Other ways to incorporate wood include doors, chairs, window frames, picture frames, floorboards, blinds, and, if you’re moving office or renovating, timber ceiling beams or wooden panels on the walls.

With staff spending more time at their desks, it has never been more important for businesses to use their office design as a tool to improve wellbeing, satisfaction, and productivity. Speak to the experts at Kerr today to discuss how you incorporate biophilic design into your working environment.