Do Green Work Spaces Benefit Employees?

Joe Weinlick
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Green work spaces benefit employees and companies by increasing focus, productivity and illness-recovery times of personnel. Likewise, the introduction of plants in an office environment decreases stress. In sum, green work spaces assist in maintaining the overall health of workers and have a positive impact on staff in general.

Over 35 percent of business professionals responded positively when asked if finding a job in an environmentally-aware workplace is either a requirement or a deciding factor. With results like these, it is not surprising that companies are going green not only for environmental reasons, but also to attract environmentally-conscious candidates who recognize the benefits of a green work space.

Companies seeking to benefit fully from the trend toward green work spaces often create green teams to promote eco-friendly strategies within the company, place recycle bins in highly trafficked areas to promote recycling and staff compliance, and optimize computer energy settings to reduce energy waste and costs. In addition, such companies encourage employees to turn off equipment when leaving the office and also invest in alternative technological options that enable telecommuting.

While all of these measures help workers and cut company costs, telecommuting also reduces workers' carbon footprint and transportation costs. This, in turn, decreases worker stress and increases total take-home pay, resulting to enhanced worker satisfaction.

Introducing indoor foliage is a practical first step in creating green work spaces. Studies from several organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, Washington State University and Surrey University in the United Kingdom noted a multitude of worker benefits. Plants counteract the effects on workers who experience Sick Building Syndrome, which occurs when toxins in synthetic materials become concentrated inside sealed buildings. Two common symptoms of the syndrome include burning eyes and respiratory difficulties. Growing indoor plants improves indoor air quality and eliminates volatile organic compounds, a source of Sick Building Syndrome, from the air.

Studies also show that workers recuperating from an illness recover faster in the presence of plants. Plants not only ease stress, but workers recover from stress more quickly in a green environment. In addition, living indoor plants increase a worker's focus and efficiency, resulting in a 12 percent increase in productivity. Finally, indoor plants increase humidity, which is lacking in many office environments. Low humidity can increase fatigue. The addition of plants to create a green work space can increase humidity to an ideal comfort range, promoting the well-being of workers.

Overall, eco-friendly initiatives draw in prospective job candidates, increase worker productivity, decrease carbon footprint of a company as well as of its individual workers, and reduce the effects of Sick Building Syndrome on employees. In the end, a green work space is an investment that provides positive returns for a company and its personnel.


(Photo courtesy of photostock at


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