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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Nature In The Office: An Environmental Assessment Study

Evensen, Katinka H.; Raanaas, Ruth K.; Hagerhall, Caroline M.; Johansson, Maria; Patil, Grete G.


Passively viewing nature may promote psychological restoration relevant for office work. The objective of this paper is to explore how natural elements in the indoor work environment are experienced. An on-site assessment with between-subjects design (n = 56) and a photo-based assessment with a crossover design (n = 46) compared three interiors of a windowed office setting with either plants, inanimate objects, or no added objects. Semantic environmental assessments were used, including a work-scenario task. Both studies indicated that the setting with plants was assessed more favorably than the setting without added objects. In the photo-based study, the interior with plants was perceived as more fascinating and produced a more positive emotional state conducive for work productivity than either of the other interiors; the interior with plants was also the preferred work environment in the photo-based study. The results are discussed within the framework of Stress Recovery Theory and Attention Restoration Theory. Issues regarding the use of a multi-method approach are also addressed. Understanding how natural elements indoors are experienced has an important role to play in restorative environmental design research.

Published in

Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2017, Volume: 34, number: 2, pages: 133-146

      SLU Authors

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Applied Psychology
      Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

      Permanent link to this page (URI)