10th November 2014
A recent study found that minimalistic uncluttered workplaces don't improve productivity. However when plants were added to sterile office interiors, an improvement in employee productivity of 15% was achieved.
This challenges the current thinking that bare uncluttered offices improve concentration.
The experiments were carried out in two large commercial buildings in The Netherlands and the UK. It was found that plants significantly improved workplace satisfaction, self reported levels of focus and perceived air quality.
The lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis from Cardiff University's School of Psychology commented 'Simply enriching a previously Spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 per cent.'
This conclusion is at odds with the current trend for bare workplaces and lean management techniques. Yet it highlights a route to a more enjoyable, more comfortable and more productive office workplaces.
Marlon Nieuwenhuis 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 lean office with clean desks is more productive.'
Professor Alex Haslam, from The University of Queensland's School of Psychology, who also co-authored the study added: "The 'lean' philosophy has been influential across a wide range of organisational domains.
'Our research questions this widespread conviction that less is more. Sometimes less is just less".
Other studies have shown that the adding plant displays to workplaces can reduce stress, increase attention span and improve well-being.
What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk. If you are working in an environment where there's something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better." Said co-author Dr Craig Knight, from the University of Exeter.
'We are now developing a template for a genuinely smart office.'
The study which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, studied offices over several months during which times plants were removed and added. Academics conducting the study were from the University of Exeter; the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, and the University of Queensland, Australia.
Make your office greener and smarter - contact us for a free quotation.