The interim results of an extensive workplace & wellbeing research study are in – and they have unearthed some simple, yet profound, insights into how participative office design can increase wellbeing at work.

As co-sponsors of the study, Kinnarps has identified two ‘hot button’ topics which, if addressed, can give your employees both a greater sense of control over their environment along with an increase in overall wellbeing. It’s all about plants and police.

The power of a simple office plant

Research from as far back as the mid-90s has consistently pointed to the fact that plants are more than simply decoration – they can have a major effect on staff health and wellbeing at work.

This is partly down to Biophillia, the human affinity for nature, which can stimulate productivity and creativity within a place of work. It is also because plants have the ability to significantly improve the air quality inside buildings – creating a mini microclimate where heat is absorbed and the level of air conditioning required is reduced.

In line with this, the initial results of the workplace & wellbeing study found universal welcome to the introduction of plants as part of office design projects. In particular, the idea of caring for and even naming plants proved to be remarkably popular. The evidence all points to a clear conclusion: there is power in a simple office plant.

"I loved the new plants and would have even more if we could!”

Time to ditch the building police?

Last year, the leading HR body CIPD declared that UK employees were being “stifled by over-stuffy, rule-heavy workplaces”. Their nationwide survey of employees found that ‘unnecessary rules and procedures’ was considered the joint-biggest challenge facing staff in the workplace.

A similar picture emerged from the interim results of the workplace & wellbeing study. Employees feeling disempowered due to the proliferation of rules from the top – often termed the ‘building police’ – contrasted against those who felt valued as result of being allowed some control over their working environment.

The potential for increasing employee happiness and wellbeing by empowering them in decisions over their environment is nothing new. Previous studies have identified that simply allowing people to arrange decorative elements, such as plants and artwork, led to improved productivity and reduced amount of errors at work.

"We can’t stick things on the walls as the Building Police take them down.”

The potential of participative workplace design

If your workplace is feeling the pinch when it comes to employee wellbeing, perhaps it’s time consider whether participative office design – the kind that leaves room for beautiful plants and plenty of employee prerogative – could be part of the solution.

As the largest workplace furniture provider in Europe, Kinnarps believes in making life better at work and providing workspace solutions that bring out the best in employees. Get in touch below to explore what we can do for your place of work.