Benefits of Adding Office Plants To Your Workplace
Plants can have a big impact in the workplace. Having more greenery in your working environment benefits employees and employers alike.
As humans, we have a desire to be connected to nature. Scientists call this ‘biophilia.’ Simply put, we actively seek out connections to nature and other forms of life.
Even before stay at home mandates, we spent a significant amount of time indoors. It’s estimated that on average, we spend up to 90% of our time inside. Incorporating plant life and greenery into our indoor spaces can boost wellbeing and happiness.
Whether working remotely from home, or working in an office, adding plants to your work space has significant benefits.
Office Plants & The Modern Workspace
The modern workspace (before many of us were working from home!) is characterised by a few design elements. These include:
- Open floor plans, to reduce barriers to interaction.
- Communal areas, to encourage and foster teamwork.
- Snack areas, because who doesn’t love snacks!
Increasingly, a modern office space will also include a lush array of office greenery. Known as ‘biophilic design,” office plants are a big thing. Big businesses are incorporating plant life into their office planning. In fact, when Apple announced plans for their Silicon Valley campus, their designs included planting 9,000 trees.
Benefits of Adding Office Plants To Your Workplace
Lockdowns and stay at home mandates may have changed where we are working, but they haven’t changed the benefits of plants in our workplace. Studies have demonstrated how adding plant life and greenery to our working environment is advantageous for employees and their employers.
In 2014, researchers in the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands conducted one of the first studies into the long-term impact of office plants. Researchers looked at three different office environments over a few months. The results indicated that plants and greenery:
- Increase workplace satisfaction
- Improved ability to concentrate
- Perceived improvements in air quality
‘Simply enriching a previously spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 per cent – a figure that aligns closely with findings in previously conducted laboratory studies,’ lead author Marlon Nieuwenhuis told Science Daily.
Adding plants to our home environment has the same positive impact. If you’re not already tempted to buy some more greenery for your workplace, keep reading. Here are 4 more reasons to invest in plants for your workplace.
They Help to Reduce Stress
A study by the new University of Technology, Sydney in 2010 found that introducing plants and greenery reduced employee stress. The study found that employees in a workplace with office plants or greenery reported:
- 37% reduction in tension / anxiety
- 58% reduction in depression
- 44% reduction in anger / hostility
- 38% reduction in fatigue
They Help Increase Productivity
Research carried out at the University of Exeter in 2014 found that plants helped improve employee productivity and happiness. Simply adding a few plants into an office environment boosted employee productivity by up to 15%.
“What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk. If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better,” Dr Chris Knight from Exeter University said.
They Improve Employee Wellbeing
A Human Spaces report in 2015 looked at the “Global Impact of Biophilic Design” in the workplace. The study looked at 7,600 office workers from 16 countries. Surprisingly, the study found that “nearly half (47%) of office employees have no natural light in their working environment, and almost two thirds (58%) have no live plants in their workspace.” (Source)
For workplaces where plants and greenery were included, employees reported 15% higher levels of wellbeing.
“The benefit of design inspired by nature, known as biophilic design, is accumulating evidence at a rapid pace. Looking at a snapshot of global working environments, up to one in five people have no natural elements within their workspace, and alarmingly nearly 50% of workers have no natural light. Yet a third of us say that workplace design would affect our decision to join a company. There’s a big disparity here and one that hints at workplace design only recently rising to prominence as a crucial factor,” lead researcher Professor Sir Cary Cooper said.
Plants Clean the Air
A study carried out by Global Action Plan found that indoor air pollution is 3.5 worse than outdoor air pollution. In one case, the study showed indoor air pollution as being 560 times higher than outdoor air pollution.
Common culprits of indoor air pollution include mold, Formaldehyde, biological pollutants and carbon monoxide (CO). Scientists at NASA in the 1980s found that plants remove chemicals from the air, including formaldehyde.
Plants also absorb carbon dioxide. Increased levels of carbon dioxide can make it more difficult to breathe. By absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, plants actually make the air around us cleaner. Research by the University of Technology Sydney Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Research Group showed that plants can result in a 10% reduction in carbon dioxide in an air-conditioned space. This increased to up to 25% for offices without air conditioning.
Tips for Looking after your Office Plants
The great thing about plant life and greenery, is that the benefits apply no matter where you put them! With so many of us working from home, and experiencing reduced social contact, it’s more important than ever to look after our well-being. Adding a few plants into your home working office can really help brighten things up!
If you’re feeling inspired, you’ll want to select the right plant life for your workplace. Consider how much natural light the space gets. Aso think about how often the plants will need watering. Some plants can be very sensitive to irregular watering. Low maintenance houseplants can be a great way for everyone to enjoy plant life in their environment. the plants will need watering. If you’re worried you don’t have a greenthumb, consider these low maintenance and easy-to-care for plants:
Note – if you are working at home and have housepets, opt for plants that are not-toxic to your pets. Pothos and snake plants are known to be toxic to cats and dogs.
For more information caring for your office plants, click here.