We recently looked at how Biophilia in office design and a connection to nature can improve health and wellbeing.

With this becoming a big trend in workplace interior design, we wanted to delve deeper into how the presence of plants, in particular, can be used to not only add to workspace design but also provide benefits for your employees.

We spoke to Plant Plan, a provider of innovative and brand-enhancing plant installations for corporate spaces about these benefits and the positive effects greenery can have in the modern office.

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Over their 40 years, the team at Plant Plan has seen many cases of improved health and staff morale after introducing plants into the office interior.

Here’s what they had to say.

Reduce Toxins

There are many toxic compounds found within the air that plants can remove. Plants are nature’s air purifier and work by either trapping toxins in their own tissue or releasing them as harmless by-products.

Lots of research has been carried out on this over the years, including NASA’s famous Clean Air Study.

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Studies show that around 3 to 6 plants within the office environment can keep these air toxins below the recommended total.

Improve Employee Health

The health of employees is always important to keep in mind and improve.

Having employees that feel good within themselves means less sick days and higher productivity. So how does adding greenery help with this?

Dust to Dust

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Common things that you may see in an office environment that could have an impact on the health of employees includes dust.

This normally collects on surfaces, especially those with computers. A study by Washington State University found that the amount of dust can be reduced by as much as 20% by adding plants to a space.

This is partly down to the large surface area of plants which helps to act as a filter when cleaning the air.

In sickness and un-health

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There is also the common medical complaint of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) which has arisen from us spending more time indoors during working hours.

The symptoms of this include dry skin, fatigue, headaches and even asthma. No single cause for this has been identified. However, you can find a list of possible risk factors for SBS here.

The Agricultural University of Oslo, Norway, conducted a study across 51 offices and those that contained plants had a reduction in the following:

  • Fatigue – 20%
  • Headaches – 30%
  • Sore/dry throats – 30%
  • Coughs – 40%
  • Dry facial skin – 25%

Boost Staff Mood

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Having employees work in a bare, clinical space can decrease morale and doesn’t provide a creative workspace to inspire and boost the mood of employees.

Dr Chris Knight and his colleagues at Exeter University visited workplaces including a call centre in the Netherlands and a large city auditor in London to discover how greenery can boost the mood and improve performance.

When plants were brought into the offices, one plant per square metre, employee performance improved.

Knight explained, “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”.

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Colourful and exciting plants also help to liven up an office; leading to a calmer working environment that’s more welcoming and enjoyable for employees to work in every day.

Smarter Thinking

Recent studies have found that plants in the office can boost productivity by as much as 15%.

According to the Human Spaces report, office environments with greenery and natural light can boost workplace productivity by 6% and increase creativity by 15%.

Greenery can also be used as a natural life hack to increase our smarter thinking.

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Let’s be honest, we can only stare at a computer for so long. Our attention can start to lag and, in turn, our productivity is not as high.

Having interesting features in the room, such as plants, can stimulate the brain and keep staff motivated.

Which Plant Species Are Best For The Office?

  • Mother-In-Law’s Tongue – Great for absorbing pollutants in the air
  • Kentia Palm – These can handle shady office conditions and dry air
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica) – Also known for their ability to remove pollutants from the air
  • English Ivy – This plant can help eliminate mould and is easy to maintain in a workplace environment
  • Green Walls – Can provide a real statement feature and allows offices to install plants without taking up valuable space

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With plants providing benefits to employees as well as adding to office design, this is definitely a feature that you should consider for your workspace.

If you’d like to find out how you can add some greenery into the design of your office interior, get in touch with us today.

(All images courtesy of Plant Plan)