People can, generally, be divided into two groups – those of us who’ll jump at any excuse to get more plants and those who’s first thought at the idea of owning plants is “but who will water them?”
The truth is, regardless of which category you fall into, the benefits of surrounding yourself with plants, particularly in the workplace, have been extensively studied, documented, proven and peer-reviewed.
We now know for sure that adding plants to your office interior design can significantly bolster and boost all aspects of your business, from office energy efficiency to worker innovation. Here’s how …
Plants reduce your office energy usage
Now (category two people, this is for you), before your beat your drum about the effort required to water, tend and provide adequate light for office plants on a daily basis, consider this.
Low-energy or solar-powered pot and planter misting systems can take on the dual task of keeping plants moist and cooling your workers down during the summer months. So, why not include a misting system, along with a few lush plant boxes, hanging vines, green walls and palm trees, in your next office fitout?
No need to stop there, as a stunning and diverse range of plants can thrive indoors in either full-shade, partial sunlight or artificial light, and they’re a great way to add colour and softness to your office interior makeover.
Low energy misting systems and ambient light will tend your plants automatically, with some occasional extra love from your cleaning or maintenance staff.
In return, plants will recycle the air, generating a surprising abundance of oxygen and humidity, which in turns freshens, cools and regulates the temperature in your office – all free of charge.
The truth is, plants give far more back than they take.
Plants Enhance air quality
Plants are a literal breath of fresh air, combating common air pollutants that are particularly abundant in dense commercial centres with busy streets and smog.
These same air pollutants have been irrefutably linked to a flurry of common worker complaints like migraines, headaches, sore throats and eyes, loss of concentration, nausea, allergies and fatigue – and even more serious concerns like asthma, hormone imbalances and cancer.
Office plants humidify the air and recycle CO2, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and other pollutants into oxygen. In fact, just one average leaf produces as much as 5 millilitres of of pure oxygen per hour, so the average small pot plant in your office can actually produce 2.4 litres of oxygen per day.
When you add it up, by including 100 plants in your workspace refurb, you can add 240 litres of pure oxygen for your workers on a daily basis, before you even switch on the HVAC. This, of course, has far reaching health benefits for your staff.
In 1989, NASA’s Clean Air Study, which researched ways to clean air in sealed environments and space stations, found that certain plants are better suited to the task of filtering air than others.
l English Ivy
l Peace Lillies
l Chinese Evergreens
l Bamboo Palms
l Cornstalk Dracaena
l Weeping Figs
l Barberton Daisies
l Florist’s Chrysanthemums
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PLANTS combat stress, illness and absenteeism
Numerous studies have documented the direct link between work-related stress, absenteeism and worker turnover. Likewise, the physical health complaints covered in the last section are also directly responsible for high absenteeism and staff turnover.
A fascinating report by UTS tallied international research to show how introducing plants into the workplace can reduce worker illness and absenteeism by as much as 60%.
The report also documents how office plants can significantly lower EEG, EMG and blood pressure readings – all physical signs of stress reduction. UTS’s at-home study, based on 55 staff members in individual offices, reported an average reduction in anger and negative feelings of over 40%, all with the help of humble office plants!
Green-zones and plants in the workplace not only provide an abundance of cool, clean air, they also act as natural noise buffers, lowering noise pollution naturally.
Plants have natural charm, they resonate with workers on a heightened cerebral level that instils calm, serenity, a sense of space, and a sense of life and natural growth in an otherwise sterile office.
The low-cost inclusion of greenery with your next office refurbishment could see you reaping the many benefits of heightened staff engagement, happier souls and healthier employee relationships!
PLANTS spark Productivity, Creativity and innovation
Believe it or not, the inclusion of low-cost indoor landscaping, potted trees, hanging plants, green-walls and window boxes has a pronounced positive impact on worker quality of life, productivity and performance – boosting all of the above by as much as 15%. This is according to studies both abroad and closer to home
This enhanced performance, productivity and job satisfaction has been measured in practice and shown to include:
l greater accuracy on sorting and editing tasks
l extended attention capacity
l more meaningful office relationships
l enhanced creative performance
l quicker work on computer tasks
l improvement on 10 criteria related to job satisfaction.
To paraphrase UTS’s research report: the sight of greenery in a workspace momentarily relaxes workers, resetting their attention-button and preventing attention-fatigue. So, they work better for longer – and they feel happier while they do.
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PLANTS make your office beautiful and they speak for your brand
Biophilic design is a term we use to describe odes to nature (in architecture and interior design) that tap into our innate human love of all things alive.
Nowhere are elements of biophilic design more apt than in the all-too prosaic environs of the modern office. Plants and all the elements of biophilic design are, as mentioned before, a breath of fresh air in your workplace.
Plants provide aesthetically pleasing, multisensory enrichment to workers who are in dire need of energising and inspiration on a daily basis.
To your staff, the artful incorporation of living greenery, natural materials and textures, and even curves and shapes evocative of nature, make the office beautiful – a place that might just be worth visiting for as much as half of their waking lives.
What’s more, biophilic design speaks volumes about your brand to clients, employees and potential employees alike.
Think about it.
There’s a reason why we humans tend to spend vacations deep in nature instead of deep in the bustle of the city. It’s because nature is the polar opposite of everything we associate with the mundane, day-to-day grind of work, stress and month-end bills.
2020 marked a new beginning for the global community, the way we do business and the way we run our lives.
As forward-thinking business owners and managers consider more activity-based and flexible office refits to help their workers maintain a better work-life balance, it’s time for you to point your people in the right direction too.
Work with the fitout experts at Bowen Interiors to incorporate plants with your next office fitout or refit, and change the way your workers view and enjoy time spent at work!