Office of the Future: The Nature of the Post-Pandemic Workplace



West Bloomfield, Michigan -- Planterra joined forces with colleagues in the interior landscape industry in authoring The Nature of the Post-Pandemic Workplace, a white paper that offers designers and employers insight on the future of office and workplace environments.

The authors analyzed recent research from several reputable sources (Morning Consult, Stanford University, Nielsen and others) to determine what impact the pandemic has had on the workplace and what expectations employees have for the future.

This is not the end of the office. In fact, many of the trends in work from home—Zoom meetings and flex spaces—were already in motion before the pandemic. The pandemic did change the way people work and their expectations for the workplace.

Highlights from the whitepaper include:

  • During the pandemic, 40% of office workers spent more time outdoors and liked it. Of those who worked from home, 47% said they would like to continue to work from home one to four days per week.
  • Employees who work in environments with natural elements report they experience a 15% higher level of wellbeing, are 6% more productive, and feel 15% more creative overall. Office design was so important to workers that one third (33%) of global respondents stated it would unequivocally affect their decision whether or not to work somewhere.
  • Survey respondents chose natural light as the most desired workplace element (44%). Live indoorplants came in second as the most desired workplace element (20%), followed by quiet working space, a view of the sea, and bright colors. Also of note, more than half of all workplaces include no plants at all (58%).

The paper offers evidence on how the office of the near future will “draw on the hybrid model of design, drawing from the best of hospitality, member clubs, educational spaces, retail, leisure, and home environments.”

“Hotels and resorts, spas, and even grocery stores place greenery in their entrances to present a good first impression,” notes Shane Pliska, president of Planterra in Detroit, Michigan. “Imagine if the cleaning product aisle greeted you at your grocery store door instead of flowers or fruit. How would that change your perception of the freshness of their products? Yet businesses everywhere are greeting their customers and employees with gallons of chemical hand sanitizer in industrial dispensers. The sanitization may make us feel safer logically, but emotionally it’s dystopian.”

“Adding beautiful plants or flowers next to each hand sanitization station is an inexpensive way to soften the experience and make your business feel more welcoming,” adds Pliska.

The authors include other actionable steps designers and employers can take to create a more healthy and inviting atmosphere for employees in the post-pandemic world, through biophilic design and other interior design initiatives.

The paper is published by the Silverado Roundtable, a consortium of independent greenery experts, of which Planterra is a founding member. You can read and download a copy of the The Nature of the Post-Pandemic Workplace here or visit the for more information.