'Blue Monday' approaches, but workplace malaise costs employers £93 billion, according to University of Exeter


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Monday 16 January 2012 has been designated the most depressing day of the year – Blue Monday - but ‘workplace malaise’ could be costing businesses as much as £93 billion in lost productivity according to The University of Exeter and office environment consultancy Ambius.

The research found by giving employees input into the development of their workspace, productivity can improve by as much as 32%.

Kenneth Freeman, international technical director for Ambius, said: "This year is going to be pretty tough. 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.

"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."

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