The world's first study of the "long-term impacts of plants in an office environment" suggests that a simple arrangement of a few plants around the office can pay huge dividends.
Researchers measured a 15% increase in productivity after "lean offices"—or workplaces with a desert-like aesthetic—were spruced up with leafy, green plant life. Over the course of several weeks, workers in three commercial spaces in the U.K. and the Netherlands reported higher levels of air quality, improved powers of concentration and a general increase in workplace satisfaction.
“It appears that in part this is because a green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare," said study author Alex Haslam, a psychology professor at the University of Queensland. “The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”
Researchers also noted the findings contradicted a movement among interior designers towards severely stripped down and unadorned workspaces. "Sometimes less is just less," Haslam concluded.