Study: Greener Offices Make Happier Employees

Many recent studies on job satisfaction have shown that workers who spend longer hours in office environments, often under artificial light in windowless offices, report reduced job satisfaction and increased stress levels.

How can employers make office environments more conducive to productivity and employee happiness?" Try adding some "green" to your office. A research study published in the February issue of HortScience offers employers and corporations some valuable advice for upping levels of employee satisfaction by introducing simple and inexpensive environmental changes.

Dr. Tina Marie (Waliczek) Cade, associate professor of Horticulture in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State University, explained that the project was designed to investigate whether employees who worked in offices with windows and views of green spaces and workers who had green plants in their offices perceived greater job satisfaction than employees who did not have access to these environmental components.

Researchers posted a job satisfaction survey on the Internet and administered the survey to office workers in Texas and the Midwest. The survey included questions about job satisfaction, physical work environments, the presence or absence of live interior plants and windows, environmental preferences of the office workers, and demographic information.

Survey data showed significant differences in workers' perceptions of overall life quality, overall perceptions of job satisfaction, and in the job satisfaction subcategories of "nature of work," "supervision," and "coworkers" among employees who worked in office environments that had plants or window views compared to employees who worked in office environments without live plants or windows. Findings indicated that people who worked in offices with plants and windows reported that they felt better about their job and the work they performed.

Study results showed that employees in offices without plants rated their job satisfaction low, while employees who worked with offices with live plants rated their job satisfaction higher. Additionally, employees in offices with plants rated their statements relating to bosses, coworkers, and their overall nature of work more positively when compared to employees in offices without plants.

When asked about their overall quality of life, results found that employees with interior plants in their offices tended to consider themselves happier or more content when compared to employees without plants in their offices. Additionally, the group of employees that did not have either live plants or windows was the only group that stated they were "dissatisfied" with their quality of life.

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