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6 Benefits of Plants in the Workplace

Plants seem to be popping up in offices everywhere these days, and for a good reason. In recent years, countless studies have concluded that indoor plants don’t just increase productivity, but they can also help to reduce stress levels, boost creativity, and make us happier, healthier human beings.

HM plants

Biophilia as a concept was first introduced by Edward O. Wilson in 1984, and describes humans’ innate desire to be connected with nature. In response, biophilic design has emerged to lessen the impact of this separation by bringing natural elements indoors in a way that mimics outdoor environments. Our workplace environments impact how we feel, perform and interact, and that is why focusing on spaces that support the well-being of employees has become a global imperative.

Nature in the workplace can take many different forms including living green walls, indoor trees and planter boxes. Even if you have an office with virtually no sun, you can enjoy the benefits of indoor plants that can survive in low-light conditions. If you’re worried about plant maintenance, there are many companies, like Good Earth, that can maintain and rotate the plants for you. We're a proud partner with Good Earth in our San Diego showroom, who provides and maintains our plants and plant walls.

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Photo by G|M Business Interiors, plant wall provided by DIV13 & Good Earth

1) Cleaner air to breathe.

It may be surprising to know that today’s office buildings with predominantly sealed air, can contain up to ten times more pollutants than the air outside. Things such as mold, formaldehyde, dust mites, carbon monoxide and chemical cleaning agents are just a few of the toxic culprits to blame for this. Plants help by absorbing and filtering harmful pollutants, thus improving overall air quality. When plants transpire water vapor from their leaves, they pull air down around their roots, supplying their root microbes with oxygen. The root microbes also convert other substances in the air (such as toxic chemicals) into a source of food and energy.

2) Happier, healthier and more productive employees.

An immediate effect that office plants can have on employee well-being is a reduction in illnesses and improved productivity levels. Cleaner air leads to a healthier and more relaxing work environment, thus resulting in fewer employee sick days and an overall health boost to employees. Greenery in the workplace also offers workers a visually-meditative experience that reduces stress levels and helps with mitigating common stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression and fatigue. By incorporating a few plants, employees will be healthier, happier and more productive, and the company’s overall performance improves.

Photo by G|M Business Interiors

3) Boost creativity.

It’s widely recognized that stimulating our senses can help to open up the flow of ideas, and one way to do this is with the visual of plants. Since plants are a direct representation of nature, individuals draw inspiration from them. Whether its nature itself or the gorgeous green hues, being surrounded by natural green plants enables people to feel more comfortable within the workplace and the resulting relaxation allows them to engage in more creative thinking. Bright colors and vibrant smells are key to making sure your leafy buddy has a positive impact on your creativity.

4) Plants can act as office acoustics.

As a result of the rise in popularity of open-concept floorplans, employees today are experiencing an increase in noise and distractions. This is especially true if your work space has hard surfaces such as exposed concrete walls or floors, since there are no other means of absorbing the excess noise. Luckily, plants can absorb some of the background office chatter and help to quiet down the space. According to a Canadian Research Publication, a small indoor hedge placed around a workspace will reduce noise by 5 decibels. Other strategically-placed plants such as larger plant pots around the edges and corners of a room can also help quiet down the space.

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Photo by G|M Business Interiors

5) Reduce the use of energy.

When plants breathe, they raise the humidity levels in the building, and enough of them can lower the temperature inside by 10°C (50°F) or more. In fact, one study showed that a single healthy tree can cool a building by the same amount as 20 air conditioning units working for 20 hours a day. Try some larger species of indoor trees to max out this effect and reduce the use of your office AC. This may not be the all-in-all solution to reducing your energy use, but it can sure set the office on an eco-friendlier path.

6) Enhance brand image.

Incorporating rich shades of greenery to the office is arguably one of the easiest ways to quickly beautify any space. Plants provide a critical elegance for the office that offers both customers and colleagues a visually enhanced perception of your space. In fact, studies out of England’s Oxford Brookes University reinforce that while indoor plants continue to cost less than most alternative corporate decor choices, they offer a guarantee of positively enhancing perception and contributing to well-being. The same set of studies conclude that people (clients or employees) perceive a building with interior planting as more expensive-looking, or welcoming and more relaxed. Conversely the studies prove that people’s perceptions of a building are less positive in the absence of plants. An office teeming with vibrant greenery will convey a positive brand image to visitors.

Learn More about Biophilia

To learn more about Biophilia, check out our elevate issue Benefits of Biophilia in the Workplace.

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