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Nature Takes Centre Stage for Amazon Workplace

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In a world where we typically get into our cars every weekend to escape to the country so we can commune with nature and unwind from the stresses of busy Mississauga life, a new phenomenon is happening at Amazon headquarters in Seattle, WA, where nature is being brought into the city for the benefit of the employees. In a big way.

When you're a company like Amazon with a reputation for being demanding of employees to the point of sometimes being labelled "punishing", you think big about how to turn that around. The result is a collection of high-rise and low-rise buildings in downtown Seattle that are arranged around three cylindrical structures called the Amazon spheres. These are new Amazon greenhouses that will take centre stage at their new headquarters.

According to The New York Times, a growing body of academic research points to the benefits of giving employees access to nature. About a decade ago, Ihab Elzeyadi, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Oregon, conducted a study in which workers who were provided with a view of nature experienced a 20 percent reduction in sick leave from their employer, though it was not clear why that happened.
“We wanted it to be iconic, a structure that would be similar to another icon in the city, like the Space Needle, for newcomers to Seattle,” said John Schoettler, director of Amazon’s global real estate and facilities. “It would be a found treasure in the downtown neighborhood.”

Amazon has been a pioneer of internet shopping, electronic book reading and cloud computing, and it is now in the forefront of the newest workplace trends. In a workplace surrounded by nature, it's hoped that the atmosphere will be more conducive to creativity. Workers will discuss work in rooms with walls covered in vines, and indoor creeks will flow through where they walk every day. It's a paradise in the making that is expected not only to spark creative ideas, but look after the health of employees better by minimizing their stress levels.

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