The Benefits of an Office Aquarium
Work is a source of stress for most people. To varying degrees, workplace stress can reduce well-being, happiness, focus, and productivity. This costs employees their mental health and business owners time and money.
Adding nature to your working environment will help reduce stress. By simply adding an aquarium to your office, lobby, or workspace, you can bring nature inside and help reduce stress, increase productivity, and make your business memorable to patients or clients.
Why you should Reduce Stress in the Office.
Even if you have a less stressful job or office than most others, the third largest source of stress in the United States is work (APA 2017). Stress may not be the number one cause of stress for everyone, but it's up there regardless of your situation. For 61% of Americans, work is definitely a cause of stress (APA 2017). For those who are stressed at work, 25% of them say they are “very” or “extremely” stressed (Project time off 2015).
So what does all this stress at work mean? We can assume it results in the occasional salty email and perhaps even reduced productivity. The ramifications of elevated stress at work are actually pretty serious for both employees and businesses. Stress from work costs time, money, and productivity for businesses because it costs employees well-being, happiness, and focus.
Work related stress costs American businesses $190 billion every year in health costs (Goh, Pfeffer, Zenios 2015). It also resulted in a total loss of 9.9 million working days in Great Britain in 2015 (Cracknell et al 2017).
You may be thinking a business’ top priority isn’t employee happiness, it's solving the client’s or patient’s problems. Well, the best way to do that is by making sure your employees are happy, focused, and stress free. In fact, 50% of employees who say they are stressed are disengaged and less focused at work (Higginbottom 2014).
An office in Sacramento, California experienced a 7% increase in call volume by adding nature to their employees' workspaces. After investing $1,000 per employee to redesign their workspaces with a nature focused design (in this case live plants), they saw an annual productivity increase of $2,990 per employee.
Work increases stress in almost every employee in some way or another. Reducing this stress is paramount to employee happiness which directly results in increased productivity.
One of the least expensive and easiest ways to increase employee happiness is to bring nature inside.
Aquariums Bring Nature and Tranquility Inside
Working in an environment with natural elements increases employee well-being by 15%, productivity by 6%, and creativity by 15% (Human Spaces 2015).
Natural elements can be almost anything from live plants to an open window. One of the best, most efficient, and cost-effective options for bringing nature inside is an aquarium or fish tank.
Adding an aquarium and using a company to maintain it results in a stress free, simple, and easy way to maximize stress reduction. While plants will certainly help, nothing beats the proven efficiency of the stress reducing power of a beautiful aquarium.
Reducing Stress in the Office with an Aquarium
Aquariums are an impressive source of stress reduction. Aquariums with living fish produce a higher positive mood in an office environment than any other natural or artificial nature element (Hamman & Jones 2013).
Aquariums in the office result in employees being at least 10% more composed, agreeable, elated, confident, energetic, and clear-headed (Hamman & Jones 2013). Additionally, exposure to aquariums can reduce anxiety by up to 12% (Birrane 2016). That's an insane number if you think about it. Just by viewing an aquarium for a short time, you can reduce your anxiety by ⅛. This is going to lead to some major increases in well-being, focus, and productivity.
The office manager of a local Kansas City sales office, whose aquarium I maintain, has mentioned several times the calming effect their aquarium has on their sales team after a bad call. She mentioned how before the aquarium, they would go outside and smoke for nearly a quarter of an hour to calm down. Now, they only need a few minutes in front of the aquarium to regain their focus and confidence.
All this magic is possible because nature has a restorative response in humans (Wilson 1993) and exposure to aquariums leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure and heart rate (Cracknell et al 2017).
While your employees are the most important aspect of how efficiently your business runs, your clients or patients keep the lights on. Aquariums can help them as well.
Making your Office Unique and Memorable with an Aquarium
Adding an aquarium to your office lobby, waiting room, or communal space gives an impression to your clients or patients that you care about the aesthetic health of your environment. Installing an aquatic system that matches your design gives your business an elevated first impression.
Not to mention all the research I’ve covered so far also applies to clients and patients waiting for their appointment. Reducing their stress and making them happier may not result in direct increased productivity for your office, but it does have obvious benefits. Calm and happy clients and patients are priceless.
Is an Aquarium Good for an Office?
American workers are more stressed than ever. Bringing nature into your office will reduce stress. Aquariums are the most efficient and effective form of mood-elevating naturescapes. Having an aquarium in your office is a great idea.
Stress in the workplace is a serious topic. Nature through aquariums is a great way to reduce stress in the office. If you're experiencing too much stress in the workplace, you may need more than just some calming nature. Be sure to explore all the resources available to you and assess whether you need to take extra steps to reduce your stress. Taking a step back and examining sources of stress is crucial in determining if you need professional help to make your life better and less stressful.
How do I get an Aquarium in my Office?
Once you’ve decided you want to reduce stress in your office and increase productivity, the next step is to see how much it will cost.
If you want to know how much the design, installation, and maintenance of an aquarium would be in your office, contact me for a free consultation and estimate.
American Psychological Association. (2017) Stress in America: The State of Our Nation. Stress in America Survey.
Birrane, A. (2016) Why you can’t afford to ignore nature in the workplace. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161125-why-you-cant-afford-to-ignore-nature-in-the-workplace. Accessed 6/5/2022.
Cracknell, D. et al. (2017) A preliminary investigation into the restorative potential of public aquaria exhibits: a UK student-based study. School of Psychology. https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10026.1/9563/Cracknell%20Landscape%20research%20paper%20for%20deposit.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=n
Hamman, C. & Jones, L. (2013) The effect on mood of a “living” work environment. Journal of World health Design. October 2013. pgs 70-79.
Higginbottom, K. (2014) Workplace Stress Leads to Less Productive employees. Web. https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2014/09/11/workplace-stress-leads-to-less-productive-employees/#239a32f31d19. Accessed 6/5/2022.
Human Spaces: The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace. (2015) Web. https://interfaceinc.scene7.com/is/content/InterfaceInc/Interface/AsiaPac/WebsiteContentAssets/Documents/Press%20Releases/Human%20Spaces%20Report/wc_ap-humanspacesreport2015.pdf. Accessed 6/5/2022.
Project: Time Off, GfK. (July 2015) The Work Martyr’s Affair: How America’s Lost Week Quietly Threatens Our Relationships. Accessed 6/5/2022. http://www. projecttimeoff.com/ research/overwhelmed-america.
Wilson, E. O. (1993) Biophilia and the conservation ethic. In S. Kellert & E. O. Wilson (Eds.), The biophilia hypothesis (pp. 31-41). Washington, DC: Island Press.
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