Why Do Office Plants Help To Boost Productivity?
Whether your business is housed in a small office or a huge skyscraper, one of the most surprisingly important and prolific pieces of office furniture is one that is as alive as the employees and almost as vital.
In the wake of a fundamental shift in how people work, hiring vibrant office plants is no longer an indulgence or a nice-to-have but is a necessity, one that through a 15 per cent productivity boost according to research by the University of Exeter, more than pays for itself.
Whilst this 2014 study was not the first to find a link between plants and productivity, it was the first to show this was the case, defying the then-prevailing wisdom that minimalist office design is the best way to boost productivity.
The study highlighted three areas in particular where office plants help improve the quality of life of the people working in them, and understanding why this is the case will help explain why greenery is a solid investment in the future.
Perceived Air Quality
The first, and perhaps most clearly linked benefit is a correlation between plants located in the office and the perception of the quality of air in the room, which links with more intuitive findings that plants improve the actual air quality as well, something confirmed in a University of Birmingham study.
Whilst the latter aspect is important for self-evident reasons, the boost to the perception of air quality has a stark effect on productivity, as it removes the feelings of fatigue and loss of focus that can be symptomatic of sick building syndrome.
Improved Work Engagement
The study also notes that workers in offices with plants have improved self-reported levels of concentration, and a huge reason for this comes down to improved engagement with work.
Some of the reasons for this dovetail with an improved sense of workplace satisfaction, but alongside the mental well-being boosts that being close to plants can provide, they also help to lower physical and cognitive stress.
Stress is one of the biggest reasons why people struggle to engage with work, and at its worst can lead to outright burnout, a big reason for self-doubt, a sense of isolation, a lack of energy, an overwhelmed sensation and a greater tendency to procrastinate.
It can also lead to greater levels of employee turnover, which indirectly reduces productivity due to the effects of brain drain and the need to train new members of staff.
Reducing stress is also connected to another major reason why plants are such a productivity boost.
Greater Job Satisfaction
Ultimately, happy employees are more productive, as they feel a much greater connection with their jobs and their workplaces, as well as lacking the mental constraints that can often emerge as the result of chronic or extreme stress.
Plants have a calming effect on people, and this helps to foster environments where people are more productive and more collaborative, boosting a team’s ability to work together and increasing positive sentiment about each other, themselves and the work itself.
It also helps to absorb sound, which prevents a common issue in open-plan workspaces of inadvertent distractions.