High performing offices require a green belt

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” ~ Steve Jobs

A typical performance driven organisation focuses firstly on the selection, development and retention of the right people. One of the next steps would be to create an efficient and productive environment which enables them to optimise their abilities. Not including indoor plants as an integral part of this high performance environment would be a high risk omission if one considers the compelling evidence that has emerged from the many studies on the subject.

These studies, conducted by experts in their field at universities in the Netherlands, USA and the United Kingdom, put forward convincing evidence of a direct correlation between the presence of indoor plants in the workplace and improved productivity. With precious little of the annual budget set aside for this, office plants get scant regard from management despite their presence being an essential consideration in the modern business environment.

Virginia Lohr, Caroline Pearson-Mims and Georgia Goodwin, of the department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Washington State University, found that both active and passive interaction with plants can change human behaviours, attitude and physiological responses. During their research, participants with similar abilities undertook computer tests, some in rooms populated with plants and others without. The reaction time of the participants occupying rooms with indoor plants was found to be 12% higher. In addition to the improved productivity, those persons surrounded by plants were shown to have lower blood pressures, a significant indication of lower stress levels.

The report makes reference to studies in Germany as far back as the 1960’s. These asserted that employee morale improved, absenteeism decreased and worker efficiency increased when plants are added to office spaces. While the observations might have been speculative at the time, the report by Dr Virginia Lohr and her colleagues from Washington State confirmed that indoor plants can, in addition to reducing stress in the workplace, improve productivity on tasks requiring concentration and quick reactions.

Many factors must operate in unison if an organisation needs to operate at the highest level. The inclusion of indoor plants is a controllable item, it makes little sense therefore, to ignore this opportunity of ensuring an improved physical and mental environment and a high level of organisational output.

Courtesy: Interior Plantscapers Association