Plants in the office boost productivity by 15%, study finds

Employees reported better workplace satisfaction in 'green' offices

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The Independent Online

Greenery in the office does more than improve the scenery – it also makes employees happier and more productive, according to a new study.

Having a plant on your desk increases productivity by up to 15 per cent, researchers have found.

Recent years have witnessed a trend for “lean” offices - but academics from four universities in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands discovered that spartan work spaces are actually detrimental to staff.

In the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the researchers compared the environments of “lean” and “green” offices in the UK and The Netherlands.

They looked at how the two types of surroundings impacted upon staff’s perceptions of air quality, concentration, and workplace satisfaction and monitored productivity levels over an 18-month period.

The research demonstrated that plants in the office significantly increased employee's satisfaction and improved their self-reported levels of concentration and perceptions of air quality.

Lead researcher 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.

She added: "Simply enriching a previously spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 per cent - a figure that aligns closely with findings in previously conducted laboratory studies.

"This conclusion is at odds with the present economic and political zeitgeist as well as with modern "lean" management techniques, yet it nevertheless identifies a pathway to a more enjoyable, more comfortable and a more profitable form of office-based working."