With the trends for office interiors taking a shift towards a more natural aesthetic rather than the minimal look we've grown so used to seeing, we decided to compare the benefits between the lush, plant-enriched 'green office' and the sleek, neutral toned lean office.
Although it may be thought to be a fairly modern aspect of design, the concept of a clean office space 'clear of any interferences' was first introduced by Joshiah Wedgewood in the 18th century. It was then later expanded on by Frederic Taylor in 1911 who 'applied the principle of scientific management to the organisation of the workplace. Finally in the 1990s, the concept of a 'lean office' was conceived - it was decided that workplaces must not include pictures, plants or anything unrelated to work.
An area free of any decoration or 'distractions' was seen as the best way to improve productivity. However, recent studies have shown that plants are not only an attractive and welcoming addition to the workplace, they also boast a plethora of psychological and physical health benefits. It has is actually been said that an office enriched with plant life could be part of the solution for long term business success. In fact, it has been suggested by academics such as psychologist Dr Craig Knight that a minimalist office is bad for us and 'crushes the human spirit.'
A response to the clinical, cold plain office has been dubbed the 'green office'. Also known as 'enriched office,' this work-space is filled with plant life and promotes the notion that plants have a positive effect on us at work. Biophilia, the innate human need to be close to nature, is incorporated into the design of the building in order to encourage staff to work more productively. Research has also found that 'staff also feel more appreciated and valued when companies take the time to provide a more attractive working environment.'
In addition to psychological benefits, plants also affect our physical health too. The air quality of a building is significantly improved when plants are introduced - rooms filled with plants contain 50 - 60% less bacteria and airborne moulds than those without. Foliage also creates a 'micro-climate', adding humidity to the air and absorbing heat so less air conditioning is required in an office. A study carried out by Nieuwenhuis M., et al; Relative benefits of Green Versus Lean Office Space: Three Field Experiments offered evidence that showed absenteeism was lower in a green office and levels of concentration and overall felt a greater sense of workplace satisfaction.
In the battle between the lean and green office, green definitely wins our vote with its host of health and psychological benefits. But how can you transform your office into an enriched one? Simple: Get in touch! We can work with your budget to design the optimal planting scheme for your area, in most cases, a maintenance package from Funky Yukka costs less than the price of buying live cut plant displays which last less than a week!
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