This office decoration can reduce office sick days by 20%

Workers in greener rooms reported that same degree of stress as the group occupying the bare offices, yet they took 20% fewer sick days.

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A study of three separate firms, over the span of nine months conducted by Wageningen Environmental Research, claims that office plants could reduce sick days by a fifth.  The academics employed the aid of plant experts and found a positive influence of flora to be observable as early as three months.


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Two similar office spaces in each of the three companies were used to carry out the experiment. One office space was filled with plants, including installations on the walls while the other office space was left as it was.  Satisfaction levels were measured at three-month intervals.

Curiously enough, the participants who worked in the greener rooms reported that same degree of stress as the group occupying the bare offices, yet they took 20% fewer days off.  The only definitive-consistent effect induced by the plant life was a 5% increase in air moisture on average and a 17% increase during winter.

Ladders previously reported on the documented positive role plant life plays on purifying air: “They can remove up to 80-90% volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including substances such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.”

Additional studies have proven that plant life greatly boosts productivity. According to Washington State University, blood pressure levels were lower in workers when plants were present in their interior office.

Research is still being done in order to get more tangible results as it relates to absenteeism but if the experimentation done so far is to be any indication, we could be talking 1.6 fewer sick days a year per worker.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.