Greener offices make happier employees

May 19, 2008

SAN MARCOS, TX -- According to the 2000 census, Americans office workers spend an average of 52 hours a week at their desks or work stations. Many recent studies on job satisfaction have shown that workers who spend longer hours in office environments, often under artificial light in windowless offices, report reduced job satisfaction and increased stress levels.

How can employers make office environments more conducive to productivity and employee happiness" Try adding some "green" to your office. Not greenbacks-green plants! A research study published in the February 2008 issue of HortScience offers employers and corporations some valuable advice for upping levels of employee satisfaction by introducing simple and inexpensive environmental changes.

Dr.Tina Marie (Waliczek) Cade, Associate Professor of Horticulture in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State University, explained that the project was designed to investigate whether employees who worked in offices with windows and views of green spaces and workers who had green plants in their offices perceived greater job satisfaction than employees who did not have access to these environmental components.

Researchers posted a job satisfaction survey on the Internet and administered the survey to office workers in Texas and the Midwest. The survey included questions about job satisfaction, physical work environments, the presence or absence of live interior plants and windows, environmental preferences of the office workers, and demographic information.

Survey data showed significant differences in workers' perceptions of overall life quality, overall perceptions of job satisfaction, and in the job satisfaction subcategories of "nature of work," "supervision," and "coworkers" among employees who worked in office environments that had plants or window views compared to employees who worked in office environments without live plants or windows. Findings indicated that people who worked in offices with plants and windows reported that they felt better about their job and the work they performed.

Study results showed that employees in offices without plants rated their job satisfaction low, while employees who worked with offices with live plants rated their job satisfaction higher. Additionally, employees in offices with plants rated their statements relating to bosses, coworkers, and their overall nature of work more positively when compared to employees in offices without plants.

When asked about their overall quality of life, results supported that employees with interior plants in their offices tended to consider themselves happier or more content when compared to employees without plants in their offices. Additionally, the group of employees that did not have either live plants or windows was the only group that stated they were "dissatisfied" with their quality of life.

According to Cade, "there were no statistically significant differences among the categories of "age," "ethnicity," "salary," "education levels," and "position" among employees who worked in offices with or without plants or window views. However, we did find gender differences. Males who worked in offices with plants rated their job satisfaction higher than males who worked in offices with no plants." Interestingly, the study found no differences (in level of job satisfaction) in groups of female respondents.

The study supports previous research showing that adverse environmental conditions can have negative effects on employee perceptions of job satisfaction and overall well-being. Findings from the study also support self-reports from employees that job conditions are directly related to their attitudes, including job satisfaction, frustration, anxiety on the job, and turnover rates. Productive, happy employees keep businesses thriving. So, employers -- want to keep your employees happy? Bring in some green and open the windows!
-end-
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site:
http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/43/1/183

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education and application. More information at: http://ashs.org

American Society for Horticultural Science

Related Plants Articles from Brightsurf:

When plants attack: parasitic plants use ethylene as a host invasion signal
Researchers from Nara Institute of Science and Technology have found that parasitic plants use the plant hormone ethylene as a signal to invade host plants.

210 scientists highlight state of plants and fungi in Plants, People, Planet special issue
The Special Issue, 'Protecting and sustainably using the world's plants and fungi', brings together the research - from 210 scientists across 42 countries - behind the 2020 State of the World's Plants and Fungi report, also released today by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

New light for plants
Scientists from ITMO in collaboration with their colleagues from Tomsk Polytechnic University came up with an idea to create light sources from ceramics with the addition of chrome: the light from such lamps offers not just red but also infrared (IR) light, which is expected to have a positive effect on plants' growth.

How do plants forget?
The study now published in Nature Cell Biology reveals more information on the capacity of plants, identified as 'epigenetic memory,' which allows recording important information to, for example, remember prolonged cold in the winter to ensure they flower at the right time during the spring.

The revolt of the plants: The arctic melts when plants stop breathing
A joint research team from POSTECH and the University of Zurich identifies a physiologic mechanism in vegetation as cause for Artic warming.

How plants forget
New work published in Nature Cell Biology from an international team led by Dr.

Ordering in? Plants are way ahead of you
Dissolved carbon in soil can quench plants' ability to communicate with soil microbes, allowing plants to fine-tune their relationships with symbionts.

When good plants go bad
Conventional wisdom suggests that only introduced species can be considered invasive and that indigenous plant life cannot be classified as such because they belong within their native range.

How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.

Can plants tell us something about longevity?
The oldest living organism on Earth is a plant, Methuselah a bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) (pictured below) that is over 5,000 years old.

Read More: Plants News and Plants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.