Ambius, the world leader in enhancing buildings through planting, scenting and artwork, is urging businesses to examine how they can improve the office environment and boost overall employee wellbeing following new figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that the average number of days taken off sick by UK workers has fallen to 4.5, compared with 7.2 in 1993.

Trisha Haughey, Managing Director of Ambius says, “The fall in sickness absence during recession is unlikely to be because employees are fighting off illness better than ever before. As Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University recently suggested, increased job insecurity means workers are reluctant to take time off. This can put a strain on employees, affecting productivity and leading to further long term stress and illness.

“However, by allowing employees to engage with a workspace enriched with planting and artwork, employers can see a boost in productivity by up to 17% with effects on wellbeing increasing by similar amounts. We know for example, plants can reduce depression, anxiety and overall stress. Employers should be doing everything in their power to improve employee wellbeing and that includes making positive changes to the workplace environment.”

Research shows that office workers with one or more plants in their offices report reductions in:

• Anxiety – 37%
• Depression – 58%
• Fatigue – 38%
• Confusion – 30%
• Overall negativity – 65%
• Overall stress – 50%

“The drop in sickness absence is good news for companies in the short term, but employers need to make sure they are looking after employees for the long-term health of their workforce and their business,” Trisha Haughey concludes.

“There are hard facts to prove the link between well-being and plants in the workplace. Buildings are quieter and more relaxed with plants in them, as well as being more stimulating and interesting. Plants can help to enhance moods and reduce stress in the workplace, which could be key at a time when businesses and employees are feeling the pressure.”