According to a new study, plants have a positive impact on workplace productivity. Spurred on by the fact that office workers typically spend 90% of their time indoors, Arboretum undertook independent research to investigate how ‘bringing the outside in’ can improve employee health and wellbeing.

The results show that by surrounding themselves with plants when working, office-based employees were happier. And over a third of those surveyed said that plants had benefitted them emotionally, physically and psychologically.

Similarly, a study from Harvard, US, explored the relationship between a business’s office interiors and the general wellbeing of its employees. It found that ‘greener’ spaces resulted in 30% fewer sick days and even a 6% rise in sleep quality.

This mirrors the findings of a study by Dr Craig Knight and the University of Exeter, UK, which found that employee productivity increased by 15% when “lean” office spaces were filled with greenery.

Research by Dr Knight highlighted that office plants can increase office worker wellbeing by 47%, and creativity by 45%.
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Why do plants have such a strong effect on office workers?

In our report  , indoor air quality topped the list of workplace worries across Europe. And when it comes to improving the quality of air indoors, the introduction of plants has been proven to yield overwhelming results. Research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove 87% of air toxins in just 24 hours.

Moreover, greenery can impact on peoples’ mental health as well as on their lungs. Having access to elements of nature in the workplace can stimulate feelings of calm and relaxation, which in turn can lead to increased productivity.

Putting the theory into practice

The effects of nature-inspired design has, of course, not gone unnoticed by the A&D community. But when specifically looking at workplace interiors, it’s certainly a trend on the rise, in part thanks to the wealth of research done on the subject.

For the design of the Fosbury & Sons coworking space in Antwerp, botanicals were the main source of inspiration for setting a clean aesthetic, and a light and airy ambience.

Similarly, the offices of Glispa in Berlin features shelving units filled with vibrant potted plants – a simple yet effective way of introducing greenery into the workplace.  

And while there are plenty of innovations to help capture outdoor qualities for indoor spaces, sometimes, all it takes is a couple of houseplants to dramatically enhance a working environment – just as long as they are watered.

Learn more about the wants and needs of Europe’s office workers in our report: Rethinking Workplace.

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Anette Timmer EMEA Marketing Director Carpets/Workplace

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