Fight the January Blues with greenery


Fight the January Blues

"Blue Monday”, whether you recognised it on 6th January this year or believe it is approaching on Monday 20th January 2014, is one of those gimmicky labels dreamed up by commentators that hides a kernel of truth: the winter months can be depressing and hard going for many. The lack of daylight, poor-quality office environments and the seemingly never-ending rain add little to cheer us up and may actually contribute to genuine ill-health and depression. With the festive season well and truly behind us and the reality of a new year, lack of finances and failed resolutions, beginning to bite, January is not a cheery month for many.

It is not just a start of the year issue either; discontent and increased absenteeism within the workplace is far from an isolated problem. According to the 2013 CBI/Pfizer ‘Fit for Purpose survey’, workers in the UK took an average 5.3 days off work in 2012*, with stress, anxiety and depression given as the main causes of absence. The report also suggests that sick leave is costing the UK economy as much as £14bn a year.

Ambius is therefore urging businesses to use January as an opportunity to give employees the opportunity to personalise their workspace and enrich their environments – whether this is through plants, pictures or photos - and inject some fun into the working environment. Research found that by giving employees input into the development of their workspace, productivity can improve by as much as 32%**. Furthermore, health and well-being has also been shown to increase by a similar degree when office workers regain their connection with the natural world. The days are beginning to get longer and with spring fast approaching, it is a great opportunity for employees to take the charge of creating a better work environment.

Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation for Ambius comments: “Parts of Britain appear to be witnessing signs of an economic recovery, so it is therefore vital that positive staff engagement and well-being is maintained to help businesses grow in 2014. UK organisations need to be aware of the detrimental effects a depersonalised, lean and sparse workplace can have on an employee and therefore the overall business itself.

“By simply allowing staff to engage with a workspace, enriched with planting and artwork, employers can see a boost in productivity”.

Freeman continues: “It is evident that office plants have multiple benefits including boosting staff morale and reducing depression, anxiety and overall stress. Creating greener indoor space creates healthier and more productive workplaces as well as sparking stimulation and improved air quality. The figures show that people are happier at work, more engaged with their employer, and are visibly more effective in doing their jobs.”



** Results from research published by Dr Craig Knight and his colleagues from studies carried out over the last several years as part of a PhD research project at the University of Exeter and subsequent investigations into aspects of identity realization in the workplace in the UK and the Netherlands, which was co-funded and supported by Ambius. Further information on this work can be found at

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For more information, please contact or Catherine Moran or Nikhol Hui on 020 7592 1200.


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