Green Offices More Productive Than ‘Lean’ Spaces



Ultimate Office Furniture

Does your office have any greenery or plants? A recent study found that offices with plants can boost productivity by a staggering 15%. The research compared a number of offices including two large offices one in the UK and one in the Netherlands to look at a minimal ‘lean’ office with no greenery compared to a ‘green’ office space. The results certainly challenge modern business philosophies which suggest a minimal office is a more productive one.

Co-author of the research, Professor Alex Haslam from the University of Queensland, said; “Modern offices and desks have been stripped back to create sparse spaces – our findings question this widespread theory – that less is more – sometimes less is just less.”

The study was undertaken by a number of academics from across the world. One of the office spaces they looked at was a call centre in the Netherlands. The space was extremely minimal in design, when plants were brought into the offices, employee performance and memory retention both improved substantially.

Marlon Nieuwenhuis who took part in the study said, “Simply enriching a previously Spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15%.”

There has been much research in the past into the benefits of plants in workspaces and the presence of office greenery has been found to have numerous advantages including lowering stress levels, increasing attention span and reducing office pollution. Previous research has also found that introducing plants into the office can improve the air quality.

This 18-month study for the first time compares a ‘lean’ minimal, streamlined office to one with which features plants. The study concluded that, “Lean, it appears, is meaner than green, not only because it is less pleasant but also because it is less productive”. Haslam said they found plants helped staff be more physically, mentally, and emotionally engaged with their work. He went on to say that “in part this is because a green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare.”

It might just be time for the humble office plant to take centre stage.

Plants which generally do well in an office environment include aloe plants, cactus, spider plants, rubber plants and peace lilies. It could be time to add some greenery to your office.

Investing in your office environment can lead to increased productivity and an improved quality of working life for employees. Here at Ultimate we work with designers and architects to help you create your perfect office workspace, from now on we might even be suggesting you add a few plants!

Posted October 14, 2014

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