Suffering from... solastalgia?

Found yourself yearning for greener climes? Then check out this diagnosis...

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor -
Last Updated: 08 Nov 2010

Missing the good old days? Solastalgia is the yearning for the way a place used to be before the world was overcome with toxic fumes, noise pollution, global warming and volcanic ash.

Coined by Glenn Albrecht, professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Australia, the term was first used to refer to farmers whose land changed forever because of droughts, monsoon, earthquakes or hideous property developments.

The term combines the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root algia (pain), which Albrecht defined as 'the pain experienced when the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault... a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at "home".'

So how does this affect someone not working on an Australian plain? For some, it may be having a park nearby to sit in while eating a sandwich at lunch. So when a corporation decides to move from a leafy part of town to an inner-city former warehouse overlooking a parking lot to cut costs - and offers a plant as a sad excuse for nature - workers develop symptoms of solastalgia, including anxiety, despair, powerlessness and grief.

The answer? After you've designed the break-out space, meditation pod, solarium and gym, staff cafe, creche and parking lot, consider adding a butterfly meadow garden complete with a stream. The more solacium you offer employees, the less of an algia they'll be.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

The CEO's guide to switching off

Too much hard work is counterproductive. Here four leaders share how they ease the pressure....

What Lego robots can teach us about motivating teams

People crave meaningful work, yet managers can so easily make it all seem futile.

What went wrong at Debenhams?

There are lessons in the high street store's sorry story.

How to find the right mentor or executive coach

One minute briefing: McDonald’s UK CEO Paul Pomroy.

What you don't want to copy from Silicon Valley

Workplace Evolution podcast: Twitter's former EMEA chief Bruce Daisley on Saturday emails, biased recruitment and...

Research: How the most effective CEOs spend their time

Do you prefer the big, cross-functional meeting or the one-to-one catch-up?