According to several reports, UK productivity is at an all time low. But the big question is how is productivity measured? In its simplest form, it is the amount of goods produced per worker, per hour or other unit of time. This is relatively easy when the goods are tangible but when it is output for an office worker for instance, this becomes harder to measure.
So what are the ideal conditions for good productivity? The design of the workplace can certainly impact productivity. Places for different types of work, including distraction-free zones, seem to come out on top.
Could plants make a difference to productivity?
Apparently yes, as plants make us happy and calm and start us off in a good place. Various reports and studies show that having plants around ensures positive feelings (15%) and inspiration (22%).
As proof of productivity impact, a study completed in 2014 was carried out jointly in the Netherlands and the UK and involved real working offices. The set up in each of three offices were either 'lean' (no additional decorations) or 'green' (when plants were added).
Participants were volunteers from within these workplaces and did not receive payment for taking part. They were asked to comment on their workspace prior to being tested on attention to detail, information processing and information management. They also underwent a vigilance test and had to perform each task as quickly and accurately as possible.
In the ‘green’ offices, each participant (33 in total) could see three plants from their desk. These participants perceived the air to be cleaner and self-reported better concentration and satisfaction with their surroundings. They also completed the task faster than their colleagues in 'lean' spaces and no less accurately.
The conclusion was that in the green offices productivity increased by 15%.
In a further study in the United States, Dr Roger Ulrich found that in green offices, study participants generated more ideas increasing their creativity by 15%.
Other studies have shown that contact with nature can improve our memory and attention span. Plants in the workplace offer a win/win situation.
The case for including plants in the workplace is strong from both the wellbeing point of view and the case for improved productivity and creativity. It definitely seems that our innate connection to nature (biophilia) has very positive effects on us.
What can we do?
Wellbeing underpins most of our discussions with clients. Creating the optimum office environment for your staff will not only have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing but also promote productivity, concentration, collaboration and the effective fulfilment of your company objectives.
If you would like to discuss your office design or layout with us then please make an enquiry today or call our expert team on 0345 345 0898.
Human Spaces, Global Report about Biophilic Design in the workplace
The Relative Benefits of Green Versus Lean Office Space: Three Field Experiments: Marlon Nieuwenhuis, Craig Knight, Tom Postmes, and S. Alexander Haslam
Research demonstrates that workers’ idea generation, creative performance and problem solving skills improve substantially in workplace environment with plants: Dr Roger Ulrich