Green not Lean! Plants make you happier and more productive


Reading, PA., Sept. 3, 2014 — Ambius, the world’s largest interior landscaping company, has taken part in a new report led by the Universities of Cardiff, Exeter, Queensland and Groningen which strongly suggest that plants in office spaces increase employee productivity by 15% and improves workplace satisfaction by up to 40%. This directly contradicts the current trend for “lean” offices, which have minimal decoration with little to no artwork or plants, championed by many large corporations and government.  

The study, which was published this month in the American Psychological Association’s acclaimed Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, analyzed the impact of lean (no decoration) and green offices (those with plants) on perceptions of air quality, concentration, workplace satisfaction and productivity. The results revealed that employees in the green environment completed tasks faster, and without any increase in mistakes, than those working in the lean space. Workplace satisfaction was also significantly improved, with employees reporting higher levels of concentration, satisfaction and better air quality.

“This is a ground-breaking, real-world study which clearly demonstrates how plants in offices can increase employee productivity,” said Craig Knight, one of the study’s authors from the University of Exeter. “It is entirely consistent with over a decade of laboratory and workplace research. Creating a long-term study within a working environment has provided us with evidence to scientifically demonstrate the toxicity of the “lean” office as used by many businesses.”

“We know from previous studies that plants can lower physiological stress, increase attention span and improve well-being,” said Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation, Ambius. “But this is the first long term experiment carried out in a real-life situation which shows that bringing plants into offices can improve well-being and make people feel happier at work. Businesses should rethink their lean processes, not only for the health of the employees, but for the financial health of the organization.”

Two studies were carried out in open plan offices in central London and The Netherlands. In both cases, one discreet working area was left in the lean condition preferred by the host organization.  A second working space – very similar to the first -- was filled with plants provided by Ambius. Employees were then asked questions to see whether the enrichment of their office space had affected their satisfaction with their work environment,, concentration levels, perceptions of  air quality, and job satisfaction levels after two weeks and 3.5 months.

A further study was conducted among employees of a large consultancy organization in London, where participants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions, lean or green, and performed two productivity tasks. The results highlight how lean is meaner than the green, in terms of both worker happiness and worker productivity of workers within it.

About Ambius
Ambius is the world’s largest provider of plants, holiday décor, replica foliage and flowers for commercial environments. Ambius also offers a broad range of products and services including ambient scenting and artwork which can help improve employee productivity, reduce absenteeism and boost well-being in the workplace. Founded in 1963, Ambius is a division of Rentokil-Initial, plc. For more information, visit and follow Ambius on Facebook and Twitter

Note to Editors
Report published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied


Why Ambius?

Find Out About Ambius And What We Can Do For Your Business

Why Plants?

Find Out How Plants Can Benefit You & Your Workplace

Why Scenting?

Find Out How Scenting Can Enhance Your Environment & Your Brand