Study: Office Plants Can Boost Productivity and Morale

While minimally-appointed office spaces are typically thought to be the most productive, one study suggests that ornamentation -- via greenery -- can enhance efficiency.

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By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Getting your office into a vegetative state, it turns out, can actually be good for business.

A study out of the University of Queensland in Australia has concluded that an office ornamented with plantlife can actually increase employee productivity by 15 percent.

"A green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare," said the study's co-author, Alex Haslam, a psychology professor. "Office landscaping helps the workplace become a more enjoyable, comfortable and profitable place to be."

The study -- purportedly the first-ever to assess the long-term effects of green surroundings on productivity -- focused on three workspaces in the UK and the Netherlands.

Related: 5 Ways to Turn Your Workstation Into a Workout Station

Minimalist offices were spruced up with greenery, as perceptions of air quality, concentration and workplace satisfaction were monitored over the course of two months.

"The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers' quality of life and productivity."

Halsam also noted that the motivating upshot of vegetation would seem to contradict the long-held belief that "lean" -- or minimally-appointed -- office spaces were more conducive to productivity.

"Modern offices and desks have been stripped back to create sparse spaces -- our findings question this widespread theory that less is more," he said. "Sometimes less is just less."

Related: Do You Need to Break Down the Cubicle Walls to Improve Performance?

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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