Why Might Waterfalls and Trees Be the Newest Trend in Workplace Perks?

Over the past decade –since the beginning of the new millennium and the emergence of GenY into the workforce and financial market—some companies have outpaced others in the number of employee-friendly perks they offer. For example, according to one source, Google listed such amenities as yoga, frisbee golf, and flexible days off among its workplace perks in 2011. While these amenities are certainly welcome additions to those lucky enough to enjoy them, Millennials should expect to see a couple of additional changes coming to their workplaces over the next few years.

Workplace Perks: Indoor Waterfalls

Research over the past decade has revealed some compelling findings about workplace perks and the effects of negatively and positively charged ions on humans. One study revealed that negative ions—while the name seems counter-intuitive—work to “elevate mood levels, alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost daytime energy.” These ions are produced in nature through processes such as “sunlight, waves from the ocean, and waterfalls.” However, many commonplace elements of the urban landscape—such as heavy traffic, scarcity of vegetation, and poorly ventilated work areas—drastically decrease the number of negative ions in the environment. This reduction in negative ions, the study claims, causes “increased levels of depression, lethargy, aches and pains,” and in severe cases, “nausea, irritability, lassitude, asthma, and [disturbances to normal bodily functions].”

Considering the overwhelmingly positive effects that a negative-ion rich environment has on employees, as opposed to an environment that has reduced amounts of negative ions, it seems reasonable to demand that employers consider installing devices that generate these negative ions. Some may claim that certain negative-ionizing machines are available for purchase; however, indoor fountains and waterfalls are a safe and effective way to restore natural serenity to the environment by negatively charging ions. Millennials should expect to see fountains and waterfall structures appearing in the workplaces of concerned employers everywhere in the near future.

The Benefits of Nature-Scapes

Recent research also suggests that nature-scapes or landscapes rich in trees, especially spreading trees, have a positive impact on human emotions. Studies conducted by Washington State University found that “people reported more positive emotions, such as friendliness, and fewer negative emotions, such as sadness, when looking at urban scenes with trees than . . . scenes containing inanimate objects.” As environmental studies over the next few decades continue to add to our awareness of the influence that nature has on humans, no doubt such findings will become more and more common, showing that the ties that connect humans to nature are more influential in our daily lives than we might have imagined.

Conscientious employers who value the mental and physical health of their employees will no doubt begin to include nature-scapes, and access to indoor and outdoor landscaped areas, into the designs of future offices and workplace environments.

In the meantime, we should do what we can to utilize the beneficial environmental features already available to us. Open a window, purchase a mini-fountain for your workspace, take a brisk walk outside during your lunch break. And, whenever possible, make your employer aware of the benefits a simple waterfall or a tree can offer.

Feeling suffocated while indoors? If your boss refuses to install a waterfall as part of your workplace perks, Atmoph windows can provide you with beautiful views of scenery around the world in real time.