Plants and Well Being

Considerable research has been devoted to creating efficient and effective offices. Yet the psychological effects of working within a controlled office environment have been largely ignored. How does the way in which space is managed affect an employee's involvement, commitment and well-being?

PRISM, a research group led by the University of Exeter (UK) and supported by various business partners including Ambius, uses psychology, business planning and organizational change to answer some of the fundamental questions surrounding workspace.

Healthy, enthusiastic, well-motivated and empowered people work much more efficiently than those who are not. The PRISM research has demonstrated that the more the workplace environment is enriched (e.g. with indoor plants and artwork) and the more autonomy individuals have over the design of their workspace (i.e. workers get to choose the type of plant / artwork and where it goes), the more productive, loyal and motivated people become.

One of the most effective methods of improving wellbeing in the workplace is by the provision of interior living plants. These have been shown to help reduce stress, improve speed and accuracy at tasks and help foster a sense of identity and loyalty. Also, the message given by an employer providing plants in the workplace is one of care and respect and workers notice and respond to this.
 

Indoor Plants help Increase Productivity and Performance

International research shows indoor plants provide multiple benefits to building occupants.  This includes:

  • Reduced illness symptoms:
    • Sick leave in office staff
    • Sick-leave in school children
    • Coughing, wheezing
    • Sore eyes, nose, throat
    • Pain perception
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Reduce Attention fatigue
    • Intentions to quit (save on training new staff)
  • Improved performance scores on:
    • Sorting tasks
    • Creative thinking tests
    • Examinations
    • Computer task productivity 12%
    • Attentiveness - 27%
  • Plants Also Improve Staff Job Satisfaction. Surveys show:
    • Improved scores on full range of job satisfaction criteria
    • Plants on or near desk preferred to leafy window views, Why? They give more immediate, living, green aesthetics biophilia!

Indoor Plants Greatly Reduce Staff Stress

  • Medical research shows:
    • Stress reduces productivity and performance, and leads to illness;
    • Stress-related illness is a widespread urban health concern 18,19.
  • Studies conducted recently through the UTS shows large stress reductions with indoor
  • plants.  The results show that staff with one or more plants in their offices showed reductions in*:
    • Anxiety -37%
    • Anger -44%
    • Depression -58%
    • Fatigue -38%
    • Confusion -30%
    • Overall negativity -65%
    • Overall stress -50%
  • *No-Plant (Control) group showed the opposite trend - Increased negativity +20-40%

Cleaner air is healthier air, and leads to clearer thinking! And a productivity improvement of less than just 1% more than repays the cost of the indoor plants.

Interested in finding out more on this topic?

Ambius resources offering further information on the benefits of indoor plants:

To learn more about the benefits of interior landscaping, visit our specialist Plants in Buildings web site.

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