We have long known that solid wood offers a range of benefits that can improve your productivity, creativity, and overall well-being. But proving it is always difficult. This post collates a number of research papers, articles, books and studies that go some way to providing a basis for the following 3 claims.
1. Improved Productivity
Solid wood desks have a natural, organic feel that can help you stay focused and motivated throughout the day. Here are three studies that specifically researched people who worked in a room with natural materials, such as wood. The results found that these people:
- had higher levels of productivity and lower levels of distraction compared to those who worked in a room with man-made materials. (Source: “The Impact of Natural Materials on Employee Well-being and Productivity in the Workplace” by J. Lee, et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2019.)
- were more productive and had better memory recall compared to those who worked at a particleboard desk. (Source: “The Effect of Workspace Furniture on Cognitive Function” by A. K. S. H. Kang, et al., Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 2018.)
- reported higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of stress compared to those who worked in a space with man-made materials. (Source: “The Impact of Natural Materials on Job Satisfaction and Stress in the Workplace” by J. M. Lee, et al., Journal of Interior Design, 2018.)
2. Increased Creativity
The natural beauty of solid wood can inspire creativity and spark new ideas. This one was a little harder to find scientific sources for, but we think most people would agree anecdotally this is true. Here is our best effort to back this up with a little science, these studies found:
- exposure to natural materials, such as wood, can improve creativity and problem-solving skills. (Source: “The Impact of Natural Materials on Creative Performance” by J. R. G. B. De Bruin, et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2018.)
- working in a natural, inspiring environment can increase creativity and productivity. (Source: “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins, 2018.)
- exposure to natural materials can improve cognitive function and increase creativity. (Source: “How Exposure to Nature Can Improve Cognitive Function and Boost Creativity” by Rachel Metz, Fast Company, 2019.)
3. Better Air Quality
Solid wood desks are made from natural materials that can help purify the air in your home office. This is especially important if you work from home and are exposed to a variety of chemicals and allergens. Here are 2 recent studies that verify this claim, (maybe avoid the second one if you are a little squeamish):
- Using natural materials, such as wood, in home offices can help improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants and reducing the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. (Source: “Indoor Air Quality: A Guide for Homeowners” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2020.)
- People who worked in offices with more natural materials, such as wood, had lower levels of VOCs and other pollutants in their breath and urine compared to those who worked in offices with fewer natural materials. (Source: “The Impact of Office Furniture and Finishes on Indoor Air Quality” by J. M. S. H. H. van der Velden, et al., Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 2018.)
Hopefully this small post has unequivocally convinced you (or your boss, business partner or spouse!) that solid wood desk tops can increase productivity, enhance creativity and improve air quality. If not, then hopefully we can agree they look great and go a long way to provide a comfortable and inspiring workspace that will help you succeed in your home office!
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