The Mean Green Office Machine

The Mean Green Office Machine
Spaces at World Plaza Building, Bonifacio Global City shows off its design conducive for productivity and workplace satisfaction. (Photo by Monsi A. Serrano/THEPHILBIZNEWS)

By Lars Wittig

Office spaces could always benefit from a little sprucing up to decorate the space and improve employees’ moods. A simple desk plant has the potential to improve various productivity issues. In the Philippines, companies are catching on to the positive benefits adding greenery to workspaces can have in facilitating better, more relaxing work environments.

Building nature into the workspace has been shown to dramatically improve productivity, perceptions of air quality, workplace satisfaction, and cognitive function. A Harvard study revealed a big difference between people working in workspaces with green-enhanced offices and people working in workspaces with no plants. Employees get a 26 percent boost in cognition and 30 percent fewer sickness-related absences when they work at a beautiful, green location. The study also showed that there’s a 6 percent improvement in the quality of their sleep, which means it doesn’t only have great work advantages – it also has its perks for the mind.

In a University of Exeter study, researchers examined the effect of green offices on staff’s perceptions of air quality, concentration levels, and workplace satisfaction. They found that the existence of plants in the work environment significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration and perceived air quality. A further study into, “The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function” also found that improved ‘indoor environmental quality’, or the presence of plants, doubled occupants’ cognitive function test scores.

These findings are being put into practice across the world, including at the Apple headquarters in California. There approximately 10,000 trees have been planted across the campus in a bid to increase employees’ access to nature and thus aid their productivity levels. To be able to boost your productivity and also benefit from the health advantages of having plants at the office, the size of the plant does not matter. Whether you just have some small cacti on the table, or a huge tree in the middle of the workspace, it will do wonders for office well-being. That’s enough reason to buy that beautiful little Bonsai tree for your desk.

Several office buildings in the Philippines are applying these concepts and more in their layout, management and design. Many of these buildings are LEED or BERDE certified, industry certifications from the U.S. and the Philippines respectively that verify a building’s green features from its design to its operation and maintenance. Companies that follow the green thread feature industry-leading, efficient systems for saving energy and water, managing waste, and recycling, are deemed to be paying attention to employee productivity and want the best work spaces.

If you’re looking for some quick ways to boost productivity and wellness in your office space, here are some tips to make the most of a welcoming, green office environment.

First, keep in mind that to keep your greens alive and healthy, it’s crucial to place your plants in the right spot. Give them too much sunshine and warmth and they will die. Give the plant too little light and the same will happen. Therefore, make sure to do some research on the exact amount of light that enables your plants to thrive.

Spice things up and move some furniture around to create the perfect spot for your plant. Why not switch desks, which is quite easy when you’re working at a co-working space. Are you living or working in a dungeon? Make sure to buy a snake plant, one of the best indoor low-light plants out there. Another especially nice feature of this plant is that it can handle infrequent watering (like once a month, ideal for the busy professional).

Other low-maintenance favorites include the Jade Plant, African Violets, Peace Lily, English Ivy, and the Spider Plant — one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. It is often displayed in hanging baskets, so it can also create some visual interest in an office space.

It is perhaps no surprise that more and more companies are placing increased emphasis on adding greenery to their carefully designed offices. The result will surely be better productivity, happier staff, and improved employee retention.

LARS WITTIG is the Country Manager of Regus, HQ & Spaces by IWG in the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand as well as VP for Sales in ASEAN-South Korea-Taiwan.  He has been awarded Asia CEO Expatriate Executive of the Year 2014; Silver in 2018 and Gold in 2017 for Highest Mature Revenue Growth by IWG; and Best Performer and CEO Asia-Pacific 2013 by IWG. As director on the board of the European Chamber of Commerce Philippines, he is active in various fora and NGOs and regularly cited in business newspapers, trade magazines, and other media.
 


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