Go greener for productivity

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call_center_cubicle_line_1600_wht_7147You may remember the days when workers in offices would surround themselves with memorabilia, family photos, fluffy animals and plants. Perhaps that’s still the case?

Back in the day, introducing open plan offices (bureaulandschaft), I found those habits seemed even more common when people had to adapt to pen plan offices (I even saw people growing tomatoes), as if they were trying to personalise their space and regain some control over their environment.

These days you’re lucky to have a desk and the work environment is more likely to be stripped down, and minimalist – perhaps barring the odd motivational poster.

Now researchers at Exeter University have confirmed yet again that having greenery around boosts productivity.

Plants not only boosted intellectual performance but also improved job satisfaction and sense of well-being” says psychologist Craig Knight who led the research.

The research was carried out in three companies in Finland.

Workers were asked to work in a bleak stripped down office doing various challenging tasks and their performance measured. Then one group was left to carry on in that space whilst another could choose plants to put around their desk. A third group had their offices “greened” with foliage provided by a Finnish firm called Naturvention which had sponsored the study.

The researchers found that even a few plants had as strong an effect as organised displays. What people appreciated was the chance to control their environment – a point I made earlier.

Knight said “there is a fashion for minimalist, monochrome styling which pleases managers because it gives them a sense of control. But in reality it crushes the human spirit and we can now measure that. Adding plants makes people happier and productive – but the real benefit comes from giving them autonomy“.

I’ve posted previously on the beneficial effects of greenery in our environment and how it helps reduce street and improve productivity and here’s more proof.

So not sure what the sponsor made of the results but here they are promoting their Naava walls.

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