Watson Consoles Blog

Jun 05, 2017 Health & Wellness, High Performance Environment

Bring the outdoors in and reduce stress in your PSAP

Bring the outdoors in to reduce stress

Communications team leaders experience some common pain points directly related to workspace impact on employee satisfaction. In a previously published blog, How the Best Comm Centers Motivate Their Front-Line Employees, Adam Timm discusses the negative impact of dissatisfaction on operations and suggests ways to change the tide.

However, not all change has to happen at once. There are small adjustments that will positively affect how people feel about being at work and support a healthy office environment.

Bring the Outdoors In

Depositphotos_110611906_m-2015.jpgOne small way you can lift spirits includes bringing some of the outdoors in. This in especially beneficially for PSAPs that have limited view to the outdoors.

Studies reveal that plants positively impact mood, employee health and satisfaction. Office plants increase oxygen and help to naturally clean the air. Plants and their influence have been studied in multiple environments.

The insights gained have broad applicability to your PSAP environment:

One way that the workplace may be modified to promote health is through the purposeful use of nature contact. Nature contact is a component of all healthy places and the focus of this workplace study. Everyday nature contact is exposure to the outdoors or outdoor-like elements in the places people live, work, and play. At work, nature contact may be achieved by adding an indoor office plant or taking a work break outdoors. (read more)

Further,

Working in an environment that includes plants reduces carbon dioxide levels and lowers stress. People want to go to work in a healthy environment. Long-term benefits include increased productivity and reduced health care costs. In a study done by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University, common house plants were used to measure stress levels in employees at workstations. Participants working in an environment with plants present were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than their non-plant counterparts. (read more)

Even NASA is attuned to the benefits :

NASA research suggests having at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. (The Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is pretty hardy, by the way, although not entirely unkillable.) ... [Plants] are effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air—chemicals that have been linked to health effects like headaches and eye irritation. 

A holistic approach to PSAP design

Understanding the relevance of dispatcher health and focus during long shift hours is paramount for product designers providing support tools for PSAPs. Here, we incorporate those same principles into our own work environment.

At Watson Consoles headquarters, we are lucky to have a trail that circles the property and that makes for a great opportunity for break-time. That said, we have many grey rainy days that keep folks indoors.

To extend exposure to nature during the dark days of winter, we have designed dedicated plant receptacles into communal furniture components. (You can see our dispatch center furniture designs at both the NENA and APCO expo this year).

Since our office installation, we’ve been testing indoor plants to determine which ones grow best in indirect and low-light.

What did we discover?

Keeping plants healthy is fairly easy! It requires a basic commitment to watering and feeding, and the occasional trim.

We also discovered that sharing voluntary plant sponsorship is beneficial. Assigned caretakers make plant care part of their routine. And you might find it spurs some friendly competition.  

Our winners for good growers in indirect and low light include:

ZZ Plant 

Heartleaf Philodendron 

Pothos 

Prayer Plant 

Our engineering team has also had good success with freestanding Ponytail Palm and Lucky Bamboo.

We encourage your team to bring the outdoors in and give indoor plants a try. It’s a low cost risk that may deliver high reward. You can find more great indoor plant suggestions and growing tips at HousePlantJournal.com and via HGTV.com. And check out the NASA study top picks via Life Hacker.

 


 

Have you had success with indoor plants? Share your suggestions and tips for a healthy workplace - 

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Find more articles on our blog for creating a high-performance PSAP.