More than 2000 Japanese people killed themselves due to work-related stress in the year to March 2016, according to the government, while dozens of other victims died from heart attacks, strokes and other conditions brought on by spending too much time at work. The word Karoshi (過労死, Karōshi) was created specifically for this issue. The word, which can be translated literally as ”overwork death”, means occupational sudden mortality. The major causes of karoshi deaths are due to stress. The problem is that long working hours are not just a phenomenon in Japan, but all over the world. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford university, says people are dying because of their jobs. According to professor Pfeiffer’s research, 61 percent of American workers believe that work stress is the cause of their illness.
Our brain operates like a muscle — meaning that, just like your biceps, it can get worn out and fatigued if you use it too much, and it needs rest in order to recover. Everybody is familiar with the saying “Even God rested on the seventh day.” For centuries, humans have understood that rest is fundamental to success, health, and happiness. But over the past few decades, with the increasingly fierce competition in the industry, the pressure has been piling up and more and more workers are skipping their day of rest in exchange for more hours at the office.
Today, we are happy to see that companies are starting to understand the importance of employee health and wellbeing for the performance and success of their business. It has now become a common employee benefit to offer an onsite fitness center or a gym reimbursement. But companies still don’t spend enough time coaching employees about the importance of rest. The existing ways of rest in the company are often no more than offering a break room or providing some refreshments like snacks and beverages. The effect is limited and mainly physical. Employees are still in the busy CBD, and can’t pull themselves away from the depressing workspace.
Imagine you are going through an unproductive workday, sitting in your cubicle for five hours straight typing on a computer screen. Don’t you ever have that desire to rush out of the office, out of the busy city centre and into the forest without looking back? This is reasonable, and more and more evidence suggests that walking in nature can be effective in relieving stress and reducing the risk of mental illness. Also, the color green you can see everywhere in a forest is considered the most relaxing color, agreed by designers, psychologists, feng shui practitioners and advertising designers. Research shows that green can make us feel calm, balanced and emotionally stable.
This is why Korpi ForRest exists. Korpi ForRest can provide a 1-6-month project that monitors staff stress levels and well-being while utilizing our virtual forest break service. We use a digital audiovisual forest experience that works as a preventive and restorative break solution during the working day.
– Ruyi Xu