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Getting Outdoors After the Workday: The Affective and Cognitive Effects of Evening Nature Contact



Klotz, Anthony C;

McClean, Shawn T;

Yim, Junhyok;

Koopman, Joel;

Tang, Pok Man;

(2022)

Getting Outdoors After the Workday: The Affective and Cognitive Effects of Evening Nature Contact.

Journal of Management


10.1177/01492063221106430.

(In press).

Abstract

A growing body of research indicates that contact with nature at work has beneficial effects on employee well-being. However, employees often spend most of their workdays indoors, largely separate from natural elements. For these employees, the bulk of their contact with nature occurs outside of work, after the workday. The extent to which this contact with nature during nonwork time helps employees recover from the workday and affects them at work the next day, if at all, is not clear, leaving an incomplete picture of the potential for employees to access the work-related benefits of nature in their personal time. In this paper, we draw from stress recovery theory and attention restoration theory to examine the effects of evening nature contact on work effort the following day via two paths: increased positive affect and reduced depletion. Our results, based on three studies employing different methodologies (i.e., an experience sampling study, an experiment, and a recall study), indicate that evening nature contact positively relates to beginning of workday positive affect and subsequent work effort. However, this effect emerged only for employees with high levels of nature connectedness—an individual difference reflecting individuals’ innate connection to the natural world. Concerning the depletion-based link between evening nature contact and employee effort at work the next day, our results offered only limited support for this path. These findings extend our understanding of the effects of contact with nature on employees, particularly across work and home boundaries.

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