How might your workspace affect your state of mind? Further, how does your workspace impact your ability to be productive? Productivity is a complex topic with a large disparity between denotation and connotation. It can ultimately be interpreted based on the context of the usage of the word, most widely accepted as a measure of efficiency in completing a task. Motivation exists at the root of productivity, as people are motivated by incentives. Motivation and productivity are driven by a complex set of variables, only some of which fall under someone’s direct control. Health and well-being are variables that are modifiable through the inclusion of natural scenery. Bearing this in mind, working in a garden office is an optimal way to improve productivity.
A garden office is best described as an outdoor building used as a workspace, office, or studio separate from the house like an office shed. Their construction is in general like a shed as far as size, however, specifications can vary as the workspace is needs-based. Garden offices are flexible in the sense that they are customized to serve the needs of the individual that intends to use the workspace. There are aesthetic considerations – such as visual elements like color, material, layout, and size – and the garden office’s structure can vary in complexity. Some garden offices are complete with electricity, insulation, air conditioning, and other amenities to serve the purpose intended for the user. Essentially, garden offices can be as simple or as elaborate as someone wishes, creating both a retreat that is visually pleasing and stimulating as it is productive. It’s your office and you can choose whatever you want in it; whether it’s an adjustable desk or a standing desk, it’s up to you.
A necessary and elementary element of a garden office is the sense that a person can separate work from leisure in the home environment. When the two overlap, it is difficult to establish mental boundaries that could encourage someone to be productive. The work-engaged mind is immersed in the distraction and comfort of home, which brings constant interruption to a state of workflow and concentration. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that information-rich environments exhaust mental energy when people direct attention towards tasks while drawing on an inhibitory mechanism to block out external distractions. The external distractions can range from attempting to ignore a conversation to having a phone or personal device nearby. Stepping outside of this environment and into a garden office removes the individual from a distraction wrought environment and introduces a new facet to the workspace: the benefits of nature.
Why Choose a Garden Office?
Gardens involve the cultivation of vegetation, why not cultivate the mind as well? This cultivation draws on inspiration from the natural elements found outside. Whether it be the surrounding plants, the sounds of running water, the fresh air, or the sunlight, working from a garden office is replete with benefits and the potential to increase productivity. Cornell University’s Professor Alan Hedge conducted and published a study titled “Study: Natural Light Is the Best Medicine for the Office” where he studies the effects of optimal exposure to daylight and its link to a reduction in eyestrain and headaches. Some key findings of this study are that exposure to natural light increases health, wellness, and alertness and that productivity correlates with sufficient natural light exposure. Hedge affirms that “the study found that optimizing the amount of natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers, leading to gains in productivity,” even prompting individuals to work in office spaces with adequate natural light. Hedge advocated that exposure to proper sunlight be one of the chief considerations in allocating a workspace.
A garden office is best seen as an opportunity to create boundaries in one’s life that increase productivity through immersion in nature. A New York Times article titled “A New Meaning to ‘Working in the Garden’” demonstrates that a garden office “allows you a real disconnection at the end of the day when you leave your workplace.” These boundaries and exposure to nature and sunlight serve an important role in productivity, creating a strong argument for why everyone should invest in a garden office.