A report carried out by Human Spaces recently revealed that natural light and an abundance of greenery within an office environment can improve productivity by at least 6% and boost creativity and employee well-being by 15% percent. However, it has been found that half of office workers across the globe have little to no natural light in their workplace and a further 48% have no plants in their eye-line.
Organisational psychologist Professor Sir Cary, who was commissioned by carpeting company Interface to conduct the study, monitored 7,600 employees across 16 countries in order to collect the data. Sir Cary, who was the former founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Organisational Behaviour and currently holds the title of chair of the Academy of Social Sciences, stated that, “as well as enabling organisations to make links between their physical spaces and the performance of their people, this study throws light on one of the defining challenges of modern life – our ability to cope with urbanisation and loss of connection with green spaces.”
In 2013, the Office for National Statistics found that minor illnesses such as colds and sore throats accounted for 27 sick days, while long-term conditions like depression, anxiety and stress accounted for a further 15 days. However, there is hope for employers, as a series of studies carried out in two large commercial offices within UK and the Netherlands last year found that giving a “lean” office a green makeover could boost worker productivity by 15%. The health benefits of plants have also been proven to reduce dry throats, fatigue and improve mental health.
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