‘Say it with flowers and banish Blue Monday’

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Today – Monday, January 16 – has been designated the most depressing day of the year.

But workplace malaise goes beyond one ‘Blue Monday’ and could be costing businesses as much as £93 billion in lost productivity.

Research by the University of Exeter supported by Ambius, the world leader in enhancing buildings through planting, scenting and artwork, found that by giving employees input into the development of their workspace, productivity can improve by as much as 32 per cent.

Ambius is urging businesses to use Blue Monday as a day to give employees the freedom to personalise their space – whether through plants, pictures or photos - and inject some fun into the working environment.

Kenneth Freeman, international technical director for Ambius said: “2012 is going to be a pretty tough year. Staff well-being and engagement is therefore vital to help businesses through these difficult trading conditions.

“The problem is that many businesses don’t understand the detrimental effect a depersonalised, sleek and sparse workplace can have on well-being.”

Simply by allowing staff to engage with a workspace enriched with planting and artwork, employers can see a boost in productivity by up to 17 per cent with effects on wellbeing increasing by similar amounts. Give them some say over their environment and productivity improves by up to 32 per cent.

“We know that plants in the workplace have multiple benefits. They can reduce depression, anxiety and overall stress. Buildings are quieter and more relaxed with plants in them, at the same time, more stimulating and interesting. It’s a basic human need to be close to nature and in the dark and cold winter months bringing nature inside can have huge benefits.

“Creating an engaging workspace is key to business success. Even if it’s as simple as introducing plants, from our research, people report being happier at work, more engaged with their employer, and are visibly more effective in doing their jobs. Let’s hope Blue Monday provides the impetus for businesses to go green in 2012.”