An American journalist asked a few questions about the workplace based on this article on performance in corporate offices (Green or lean offices?).

> I see that in the 2014 study, participants who reaped the benefits of a green workplace had direct views of a minimum of 2 plants. Do more plants yield better results?

There is no distinct evidence that more plants make more of an impact, it is visibility and proximity that make the difference in comparison to a Spartan space

> If a reader is looking to create a similar result is his/her own office, are there certain types/colors/size of plants he/she should shoot for?

No. For best results offer a choice of colours, plants, types etc.  Evidence suggests that enrichment is better (much better) than a lean Spartan space and choice is better still.  No colour scheme, combination has emerged as being superior or inferior.  Just don’t slap magnolia on every wall.

> In another experiment in the study, workers who were in a green space completes tasks more quickly than those in a lean space–and did not have more errors. How significant was the difference between the speed/errors between groups?

On average, workers in the enriched space completed their tasks 15% faster than their peers in the lean condition (very significant, p = c.03).  Results of this type have been consistent over the past ten years.

 > Why does being exposed to green improve productivity? (What’s the scientific theory behind this? What is happening in the brain?)

It is not the colour green that matters and probably not the plants either.  It is enriching the environment that is vital (a job plants do well and inexpensively). Think how miserable a chimpanzee is in a lean zoo, or a rat in a lean cage. Then think how much their lives improve for want of a few trees and tyre swings, or a wheel and a couple of cardboard tubes.  Humans are no different. Put us into a lean space and we suffer. It is not so much that plants are good for us as the typical modern workplace – evidence would suggest – is toxic.

> Would you say that your study shows that those in green offices are happier or more satisfied at work? If so, why is that?

Yes. See the answer above.  There is much more satisfaction in an enriched space.

> Is there evidence that letting your plants go (seeing droopy, wilted plants and flowers) can negatively impact ones happiness or performance? What’s your take on that?

Great question.  In short, we don’t know. What we do know is that putting people in charge of their plants provides a great psychological fillip. In general however, plants under a maintenance contract are replaced when they sicken and people who own plants – whilst more patient – will tend to replace a poorly specimen.The offices that tend to have sickly plant specimens are ones where neither a maintenance contract nor personal ownership exists.

I hope these answers help you.  Do call if you wish.  Good luck.

Bye for now,