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31 May, 2015

Seeing green gardens could help boost workers’ productivity, say Aussie researchers

MELBOURNE, May 25 (Xinhua) — Green gardens on city rooftops may not only be good for the environment but boost workers’ productivity too, Australian researchers said on Monday.

A University of Melbourne study showed students which took a short 40-second break from a boring task by looking at a green rooftop performed markedly better on return to that task.

This was compared to the students who only had a concrete roof to look at during their break.

Lead researcher Dr. Kate Lee said the study could have an impact for urban planners by showing how a moment of green can boost tired workers.

“We know that green roofs are great for the environment, but now we can say that they boost attention too. Imagine the impact that has for thousands of employees working in nearby offices,” Lee said. “Certainly this study has implications for workplace well-being and adds extra impetus to continue greening our cities.

“This study showed us that looking at an image of nature for less than a minute was all it took to help people perform better on our task.”

The study, published in the June edition of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, saw 150 students given the boring, attention-sapping task of hitting keys on a keyboard when a number flashed on a computer screen, unless that number was three.

After a set time, the students were randomly assigned to use a 40-second break looking at one of two city rooftop scenes.

While students did not report the green roof with a flowering meadow to be highly restorative, their results in follow-up tasks showed it to have a positive affect.

Compared to students in the concrete-roof group, those in the green roof group made fewer errors and performed more consistently as a whole when repeating the boring task.

Lee will next research the impact of workplace greening on workers’ creativity.