In 2015 we have witnessed the growing trend for minimalist office design. The emphasis on lean offices has been powered by the notion that less is more. Minimalism in office environments has also been fostered by the idea that it helps to boost creativity and productivity.
However, a recent study by the University of Queensland in Australia has challenged this idea in what has been labelled the ‘lean vs green’ debate looking at the impact of office landscaping on employee well-being and productivity.
Commercial offices in the UK and the Netherlands were used and minimalistic offices were infused with plants and greenery. The study examined the impact of both lean and green offices on employee perceptions of air quality, concentration workplace satisfaction as well as measuring productivity.
The results showed that in office environments enriched with plants happiness and productivity were increased by 15%.
Professor Haslam of the University’s School of Psychology and co-author of the study stated that “Office landscaping helps the workplace become a more enjoyable, comfortable and profitable place to be”
“The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”
The results have shown that optimal performance of employees would actually be achieved by infusing natural elements into office environments. This challenges the minimalist notion of minimalist means productive that has been applied heavily into office spaces throughout 2014 and 2015.
Professor Haslam argues “The ‘lean’ philosophy has been influential across a wide range of organisational domains,” he said.
“Modern offices and desks have been stripped back to create sparse spaces – our findings question this widespread theory that less is more – sometimes less is just less.”