What’s the Price we Pay for Windowless Offices?
Back in my Microsoft days, I longed for an office with a window. In most high-tech companies — and I imagine in most companies around the world — there is a specific protocol for office/cubicle space. At RealNetworks, I started in a cubicle and slowly moved my way up to an office. In Microsoft, there were no cubicles for full-time employees, so the hierarchy went from interior office to window office.
I didn’t really know why I wanted the window office. It wasn’t for the seniority — though that was definitely a perk. Beyond the “natural light” thing, I had this inner feeling that I would be more productive if I could see the outdoors while I worked. Microsoft has a beautiful campus, and in my years there, I was in buildings buried deep in wooded areas, so my view would be of trees, shrubs, and the bunny rabbits that roamed free.
When I eventually left Microsoft and created a home office, I positioned my desk right in front of a bay window that overlooked the front of the house. In the garden was a large cedar that covered part of the house and many other types of shrubs, grasses, and small plants. Whether I was typing an email or looking for inspiration, I can’t tell you how many times I would sit in front of my computer and stare out that window.
From city to city, no matter where I lived, I always positioned my desk right by the window. Even in a busy area of Barcelona, I knew where all the trees and potted plants could be seen from my window (including the two marijuana plants my neighbors downstairs were growing off their balcony!).
It wasn’t until years later, when I first started researching the healing properties of plants, that I understood why I stared out the window so much. In 1984, in the journal Science, environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich showed that gazing at a garden can speed up healing after surgery, infections, and other ailments. “All other things being equal, patients with bedside windows looking out on leafy trees healed, on average, a day faster, needed significantly less pain medication and had fewer postsurgical complications than patients who instead saw a brick wall.”
And in 2012, David Strayer and co. showed that there is a “cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting.” In simple terms, we are more creative and healthier when we experience nature. Whether you are young or old, connection to nature enhances our creative and physical wellness, something I needed from behind my office desk.
When I lived deep in the Sacred Woods in Damanhur, I learned that most of the people in my nucleo rarely got sick. And when I started working with the Music of the Plants, the stories of plant music in healing areas started to pour in: physical therapy clinics that found their patients healed faster, children using it as study music, therapists incorporating it into sessions… I could tell you stories.
But the problem is, for right now, they are just stories. Amazing, moving, inspiring stories. We have very little data to support what we already feel is true. So tapping back into my Microsoft days, I knew it was time to assemble the team that would start to bring science into the equation.
For those of you that do scientific research, you know there is a steep learning curve. Without any research to cite, you can’t get funding, but without funding, you can’t get the necessary equipment for the research. Enter Gau Erba and Stefano Turini, Damanhurian medical and holistic doctor and bionanotechnology post-doc researcher, respectively. In addition to brilliant minds, both have access to medical facilities and professionals and a lab filled with equipment. And with their input, plus the research methodology background of Neftj Ragusa and the music and plants background of Zigola Pioppo, we put together our first formal research study.
Two Missing Pieces…
We have the knowledge and people to complete our first formal study, but in order to begin, we need to check everything off our checklist:
- Research Team - check
- Research Protocol - check
- Facilities to host the research - check
- Pool of research subjects - check
- Equipment to measure subject health - check
- Music of the Plants device - check
- Device to record the sessions - check
- Hard drive to save the data
- Computer to analyze the data
Help us get a computer and an external hard drive for our study data
Thanks to your generous support, we have raised 1001€ of our 1300€ goal. We have 10 days left to raise the remaining 299€. Will you help us reach our goal?!
Here is how you can help:
Want to know more?
If you have any questions about this study or our research in general, you can contact me via my website, Facebook page, and if you are interested in this type of research, our Facebook group on the Effects of Plant Music on Human Health and Interspecies Music.
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WE ARE SO CLOSE TO OUR GOAL!
All proceed go to this and future plant music research.
References and Credits:
Ulrich RS. View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 1984 Apr 27;224(4647):420–1. PubMed PMID: 6143402.
Deborah Franklin. How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal. Scientific America. 2012 Mar 1.
Atchley RA, Strayer DL, Atchley P (2012) Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings. PLOS ONE 7(12): e51474. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051474
Badalona photo by Carquinyol from Badalona, Catalunya (Badalona — Ciutat del Bàsket) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons