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Bringing the Outside Inside to Increase Productivity

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With all the gadgets and gizmos that surround us in today's world, it can be easy for technology to take over the workplace as we forget about our literal 'grass roots'. After seeing this on social media, I was pretty shocked to realise this quote was very true:

With this in mind, I started thinking about how living things such as plants and flowers could positively impact the workplace and came across a study in which psychologists, who have been studying the issue for 10 years, concluded that employees were 15% more productive when their workplace was filled with just a few houseplants. This was something I was very pleased to hear as my Mum actually owns her own shop stocked to the rafters with stunning flowers and pot plants that would cheer up any environment, office or otherwise.

Collaborating with academics from four universities across the globe, Knight said he had wondered for years why the fashion for spartan offices has been so dominant in the business world. "If you put an ant into a 'lean' jam jar, or a gorilla in a zoo into a 'lean' cage – they're miserable beasties," he said. People in "lean" offices are no different, he added. In the last year and a half, his colleagues have visited workplaces including a call centre in the Netherlands and a large City auditor in London to show how a splash of greenery could rapidly improve performance. The City auditors, which Knight declined to name, had spent "a lot of money" on their office, he said. "They had very expensive desks and banners that were just to do with the company - it was a beautifully sparse environment."

The call centre was similarly stripped bare. Knight said some companies he knew of had even taken to fixing computer keyboards to desks and taping down staplers to ensure tidy lines of sight. Yet when plants were brought into the offices – one plant per square metre – employee performance on memory retention and other basic tests improved substantially. "What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk. If you are working in an environment where there's something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better," Knight said. While plants were chosen in the study; flowers, photographs, changes in light or even smell could be used to achieve a similar effect, Knight said.

As a climate-positive company (we offset our carbon emissions by planting trees), we are always happy to hear that encouraging nature can be beneficial; we have plants throughout our building and love it when staff bring a pot plant or flowers for their desk. Why not suggest a injection of nature into your workplace? If you are local to Lancashire, why not check out my Mum's shop, Harlequin Flowers to brighten yours or a colleague's day?

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