Healthy Workplaces: The Effects of Nature Contact at Work on Employee Stress and Health

May 2011
Public Health Reports;May/Jun2011 Supplement, Vol. 126, p124
Academic Journal
Objectives. Cultivating healthy workplaces is a critical aspect of comprehensive worksite health promotion. The influence of healthy workplace exposures on employee health outcomes warrants research attention. To date, it is unknown if nature contact in the workplace is related to employee stress and health. This study was designed to examine the effects of nature contact experienced at work on employee stress and health. Methods. Office staff at a southeastern university (n=503, 30% response rate) participated in the cross-sectional study. We used a 16-item workplace environment questionnaire, the Nature Contact Questionnaire, to comprehensively measure, for the first time, nature contact at work. The Perceived Stress Questionnaire and 13 established health and behavioral items assessed the dependent variables, general perceived stress, stress-related health behaviors, and stress-related health outcomes. Results. There was a significant, negative association between nature contact and stress and nature contact and general health complaints. The results indicate that as workday nature contact increased, perceived stress and generalized health complaints decreased. Conclusions. The findings suggest that nature contact is a healthy workplace exposure. Increasing nature contact at work may offer a simple population- based approach to enhance workplace health promotion efforts. Future researchers should test the efficacy of nature-contact workplace stress interventions.


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