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The Green Office – The Trend of 2017?

UK office workers’ productivity is poor.

The Green Office – The Trend of 2017?

Very poor.

Research has shown that we spend only three of every five work days actually working. That means as an employer, you’re paying your staff almost half their salaries to do nothing that enhances your productivity or your output.

Thanks for that, it’s much appreciated.

The call has gone out though – writing in the Huffington Post this month, Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation at Ambius (admittedly, a company that makes its money by office plant design!), has called for office designs that inspire. That promote the sense of wellbeing and the want to work. Perhaps unsurprisingly given how he makes his living, he argues for office designs that bring the sense of outside, in. Green your office in 2017, says Freeman, if you want to be both on-trend and more economically efficient, with happier staff working harder towards the health of your bottom line.
Now even if we discount Freeman as an unbiased source, some of the office design elements and solutions he puts forward have backup from other sources.

There’s nothing more calculated to inculcate a drone-like, cardboard-cut-out corporate culture of can’t-be-bothered than dull white or grey walls, or even the use of familiar, awful, ‘institutional’ colours.

Get some green on your walls – believe it or not, the human brain will perk up, through the association of green with outside, with health and free time and fun. It’s called the biophilia hypotheses, the ‘innate affiliation people seek with other organisms and the natural world.’

Pantone – the people who act as an authoritative source for designers as to what colour is actually what - has declared that the colour of 2017 is a shade of green. In fact, pardon the sledgehammer, but the shade is actually called ‘Greenery.’ See? Green is on-trend this year.

What’s more, there’s actual statistical evidence that feeding the biophilia hypotheses makes you money: studies have shown that office plants can increase productivity by 15%.

There’s more good news. Succulents are ‘in’ this year too. Cactuses and their bio-brethren have a certain timeless chic, but beyond the style, they’re also staggeringly efficient as office-decorations, with a forgiving maintenance schedule – after all, succulents will frequently grow where more nutrient-demanding plants have long since given up the ghost. Ker-ching – cheap ways to go green and not spend a fortune on maintenance, rotation or replacement.

There are also plants that function as cheap air purifiers, and the more ‘natural’ the air, the happier, healthier and more productive your workforce. They’re called ‘airplants,’ are available at garden centres, and like the succulents, they’re hardy enough to give you a forgiving way to bring the outside in for your staff, and boot their biophiliac productivity.

So go green when thinking about your office design this year – it’s good for staff welfare, and good for your bottom line.


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