According to Dr Craig Knight, Managing Director of psychological research consultancy Prism* at the University of Exeter, the design of the working environment could have a key role to play in reducing employee stress.
Many managers in all sectors are favouring a 'stripped down' office that is depersonalised and 'lean' in a bid to save costs.
"Implementing a lean office is the worst thing they could do", says Dr Knight
"There is a growing body of evidence questioning methods of office design and management."
Research conducted by Knight
and colleagues at the University of Exeter
has consistently shown that the lean office (i.e., one with clean desk policies and regulated practices) is the least productive and the most likely to contain unhappy, stressed and ill workers.
found that simply enriching a work environment with plants and artwork improved productivity by up to 17% compared to a lean space,with measures of well-being increasing by similar amounts.
Giving employees some say over their own environment saw productivity increase by up to 32% compared with the control, lean offices.
This work was supported by Ambius
, the world's largest interior landscaping company.
continues "What some managers may see as superfluous items of non-standard clutter are in fact key elements in creating a psychologically satisfying workspace.
With over 25 years commercial experience, most of it in the field of office design, Craig Knight
has now applied his
knowledge to academic research.