Adding plants to office spaces makes employees 15% more productive. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that office plants increase staff satisfaction, improves concentration and perceptions of air quality.
Trends in office design over recent years have seen workspaces become sparse and less personalised. This ‘”lean” philosophy has been championed and thought to be the best type of environment to enhance concentration, yet the findings of this study oppose that view.
Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said:
“Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity…It directly challenges the widely accepted business philosophy that a clean office with clean desks is more productive.”
The Positive Impact of Plants Goes Beyond the Office
It is not only offices that benefit from the introduction of plants. Studies have shown that people will act more favourably to any building that contains plants and greenery. In one study, hospital visitors were asked to describe a waiting room where plants were present. Their perceptions to the room were as follows:
- 17% found the room more interesting
- 17% found it more cheerful
- 16% found it more welcoming
- 15% found it more relaxing
- 11% found it less stressful
Office Plants Provide a Template for Future Office Design
Since this week is Avery Green Office Week, maybe it is time to rethink how we design our everyday office spaces. “Green” offices improve employee engagement, physically, cognitively and emotionally.
Dr Craig Knight from Exeter University who was also involved in this latest study said:
“Psychologically manipulating real workplaces and real jobs adds new depth to our understanding of what is right and what is wrong with existing workspace design and management. We are now developing a template for a genuinely smart office.”