What is the effect of greenery in office spaces on employee attendance in the office?


As remote work became the norm during the pandemic, concerns started to arise about office attendance and productivity. We discovered that working solely from home had its downsides, like the increased risk of social isolation and the potential loss of professional contacts. And let’s not forget about the long-term impact on employee productivity. 


With MOSS Lab 1.0 and MOSS Lab 1.1, we’ve already uncovered the incredible benefits of plants; they have been proven to boost well-being, enhance productivity, and performance. 


In MOSS Lab 2.0, we dug deeper and discovered that plants even have a positive impact on the acoustics of office spaces. 



Now, MOSS teamed up with COD, a real estate developer based in Amsterdam, and six students from Wageningen University to find out if plants have the power to entice employees to spend more time working from the office.



Working remotely eliminates commuting time and costs, leading to time and financial savings. The home environment offers a quieter and less distracting atmosphere, promoting enhanced focus and productivity. It provides flexibility, autonomy, and the potential for increased output, all of which contribute to overall job satisfaction.


Working in the office reduces feelings of loneliness and minimizes distractions, particularly for employees with children. Additionally, it enables easy access to technical support, guidance, and resources, ultimately enhancing efficiency. Working in the office fosters effective communication and interaction, consequently reducing the need for frequent short meetings and decreasing workload. This, in turn, increases the chances of promotion as employees can directly demonstrate their abilities to employers.

Although working remotely has many direct benefits, working in the office offers many benefits that are vital to employees’ well-being, productivity, career advancement, technological support, and effective communication compared to remote work. Therefore, it is important to encourage employees to return to the office, fulltime or hybrid.


Based on over 40 references, a literature analysis is conducted to dive further into the correlation between green and office attendance. Various factors can influence employees’ return to the office, and the design of the workplace plays a significant role in creating a productive and safe environment. Studies have shown that enhancing the workplace environment can increase employee satisfaction and performance (Roelofsen, 2002).  So how can green contribute?


A study in 1998 by Larsen et al. found that adding greenery to the office increased perceived attractiveness and comfort for employees. The more plants present, the higher the attractiveness. Other studies by Shibata et al. (2002) and Shoemaker et al. (1992) also supported the idea that offices with plants make a more desirable workplace. In 1972, Maslow and Mintz conducted an early study suggesting that the aesthetic quality of a room, influenced by plants, can affect people’s moods, leading to increased energy and well-being.



Indoor plants have a significant impact on employee performance, especially for those experiencing high stress levels (Fjeld et al., 1998; Kim & Mattson, 2002).

Studies have shown a positive correlation between the amount of greenery in the workplace and employee productivity (Bringslimark et al., 2007). The visibility of greenery is also crucial, with plants positioned directly in front of employees having the greatest effect on productivity (Shibata & Suzuki, 2002).



The inclusion of plants in office spaces has been shown to have a notable effect on the level of privacy, as revealed by a study conducted by Goodrich (1982). During employee interviews, Goodrich discovered that the presence of plants resulted in an increased perception of tranquility among the individuals being interviewed. The plants created an inviting and informal environment, which subsequently reduced the demand for a higher level of privacy during the interviews 

Findings suggest that incorporating indoor plants into the office can contribute to office attractiveness, productivity, and privacy leading to employees’ engagement, satisfaction, performance, and well-being which may encourage employees to return to the office.


Join MOSS in our mission to uncover the impact of greenery on office attendance. While previous studies have explored employees’ positive perception and benefits of green workspaces, they have overlooked the crucial aspect of office attendance. Unfortunately, this means there is currently no quantitative data available on the correlation between greenery and office attendance. That is why MOSS is calling for action and initiating an experiment to investigate this relationship.


MOSS suggests a quasi-experimental design in real workplace settings which is a research method that is similar to an experiment but doesn’t have complete control over the variables. Instead, it compares different groups or conditions to draw conclusions. The following research design is a suggested framework, we are receptive to exploring alternative methods that may align with our goals. 

We propose a design experiment that explores the potential impact of greenery in office spaces on employee attendance. Our approach involves two groups: a control group representing the average plant presence in offices (0-0.5 vol.-% plants) and an intervention group with a higher level of greenery (8 vol.-% plants) based on benchmarks from MOSS’s projects.


To assess the impact of the treatment, we suggest taking pre-intervention, inter-intervention, and final measurements, comparing them between the two groups. It is important to address potential bias, multiple pre-intervention measurements should be conducted and carefully consider other influencing factors.

Schematic representaion of suggested quasi-experiment

In the experiment, we will look at how many hours employees work in the office and see if it changes when there are plants around. Our hypothesis is that having plants will increase the amount of hours employees spend in the office.


In planning the duration of the experiment, we have considered recommendations from Smith et al. (2011) who suggest a minimum observation period of six months to effectively measure attendance outcomes.


However, we also acknowledge the potential drawbacks of an excessively long intervention period, such as employee attrition. MOSS suggests an experiment period of six months, striking a balance between capturing meaningful data and minimizing potential drawbacks.


Our participants should currently be working remotely or hybrid. From using Student’s t-test, we have calculated that the sample size should be 142 participants (71 per group) which we already took into account for a potential 10% dropout rate. 


  1. The building should consist of two identical wings or floors. 
  2. Employees are used to working in a 0-0.5 vol.-% greenery environment before the quasi-experiment.
  3. The two groups should be from the same department. 
  4. The company must sign a contract to participate in the quasi-experiment for six months.
  5. Employees should be informed and given active written consent to participate in the quasi-experiment without knowing the exact quasi-experimental set-up. 
  6. Employees are fixed to their office spaces.

Join MOSS in this groundbreaking research as we strive to uncover the direct impact of greenery on office attendance, thereby creating healthier and more productive work environments. Together, we can shape the future of workplace design, harness the benefits of greenery, and elevate employee well-being!


Supervisor  | Beitske Bouwman

Academic Advisor | Sjerp de Vries

Controller | Rebecca Huistra

Manager | Tim Ooms

Secretary | Judith Kikkert

Member | Maria Aroutiounova

Member | Irla Hanum

Member | Annabel Meijers


Head of Research