Benefits of having a “Green” office.
What is a “green” office?
Just as it sounds, a green office is one that fills it’s empty spaces with plants, having a considerable amount of green areas. Having a green office will not only benefit your employee’s moods, physical well-being, and reduce employee stress, a green office will improve your overall office productivity and help with reducing office noise levels.
Why have a “green” office?
Enriching your office spaces with plants will lead to higher reported employee happiness, concentration, and productivity. A group of psychologists, who conducted a famous study at the University of Exeter, viewed the differences of a ‘green’ office vs a ‘lean’ office (an office baring little to no plants), and measured the differences of concentration, workplace satisfaction, and productivity between the employees. The study indicated that an office filled with plants will significantly increase levels of concentration, employee satisfaction, and even increase employees perception of air quality. When determining the effects on productivity, an experiment assigned 33 different participants to 2 tasks, one to be completed in a ‘green’ environment and the other in a ‘lean’ environment. The study concluded that when participants completed their tasks in the green environment, the task was completed faster and more accurately. Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology, stated: "Simply enriching a previously spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15%.” When testing the effects of employee satisfaction and engagement, an experiment was conducted in which one floor of a call center was designated the ‘green’ office and the other designated the ‘lean’ office. 88 participating employees would be evaluated after 14 weeks and would be given a survey to measure the differences. The results concluded that the employees working on the ‘green’ floor experienced higher employee satisfaction and a lower level of disengagement compared to the employees working on the ‘lean’ floor.
Going green in the office will also improve your employees physical well-being. Not only are plants in the office space perceived to increase air quality for employees, they also have been found to decrease workers neuropsychological symptoms and mucous membrane symptoms experienced in the office. A study done by the Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences at the Agricultural University of Norway, showed that employees working in green offices found a reduction in complaints regarding coughs, fatigue, dry/horse throats, and dry/itchy skin. The study concluded that the introduction of foliage in the office can improve employee health and reduce symptoms of discomfort.
Plants are known to reduce office noise through acoustic absorption. A study conducted by P. Costa and R.W. James at South Bank University, revealed that adding plants to a room will offer noise absorption, diffraction, and reflection. They stated that: “particularly at higher frequencies, plants reduce the reverberation time and, hence, make the room quieter.” It was found that strategically placing plants (particularly larger plants in the corners of rooms) can help to reduce the noise overheard by non-participating employees. Not only will plants absorb office chatter they can also help reduce echoes in smaller rooms. P. Costa and R.W. James claim: “Plants could be used to eliminate flutter echoes that may be particularly noticeable in small rooms with parallel walls and ceilings and floors.” By adding foliage to personal office spaces, the elimination of echoes and creation of clear acoustics is achievable.