Let Nature Into Your Workplace
Looking for a natural way to improve your office environment? Incorporating plants within your office space could provide more than just aesthetic rewards. Business leaders around the world are jumping on the green bandwagon when it comes to bringing plants into their workspaces, and for good reason — we’re learning they can improve everything from air quality to staff productivity.
It seems as though the benefits operate in a reciprocal, symbiotic fashion, with one benefit leading to another, which in turn builds on the first one. Take cleaner air: It leads to healthier employees who are motivated to be more productive — which also contributes to overall happiness, wellness, and health in the office.
Here are the benefits supporting the case for mixing plants and business:
The primary reason plants are trending in offices lately is due to their air-purifying qualities. Offices are full of people, supplies, and chemicals (think: benzene from glue and paint and ammonia from cleaners), and relatively closed off to fresh air. Many indoor offices have worse air quality than that of the outdoors, and it’s making people sick. This is called Sick-Building-Syndrome (SBS).
Fortunately, it seems as though introducing plants into these environments is an efficient way of cleaning the air. Certain plants can absorb chemicals, pollutants, and carbon dioxide, and release oxygen in return. The NASA Clean Air Study in 1989 proved this and outlined some specific plants that are particularly effective.
It turns out many common, affordable, and easy-to-maintain varieties are some of the best options: peace lilies, mother in law’s tongue (also called snake plant), spider plants, and devil’s ivy are some of the most popular choices. Read more about their properties here.
While this is a relatively new area being researched, the available evidence does seem to point to cleaner air resulting in healthier staff members. In fact, studies have shown that indoor plants reduce a range of health issues including fatigue, lack of focus, and overall stress, while making us feel more carefree and less sensitive to negative stimuli.
An excellent case study of plants’ benefits involves Kamal Meattle, the plant-loving CEO of the Paharpur Business Centre in New Delhi. Meattle has over 1200 plants in and on his company’s building — not to mention 2000 more next door! There have been multiple studies based on Meattle’s employees; one even showed nonsmokers working in the building experienced significantly fewer health challenges compared to nonsmokers elsewhere in the area.
Not only do plants functionally clean the air in office environments, but they also visually brighten the space and make people feel good. Introducing plants into your workspace has the power to actually improve employee satisfaction. One working theory posits that having plants and natural elements around makes people happier in general because we are biologically wired to be attuned to nature. Plants seem to boost creativity and can also work to absorb loud noises, therefore removing distractions and increasing focus.
More Productive Teams
While clean air and healthy, happy employees should be important to business owners, there are solid bottom-line benefits to bringing plants into the office, too. For example, Meattle has seen higher productivity and fewer sick days since introducing plants in his workspace. Some research shows that when employees can see plants from their desk, productivity rises as much as 15%! Even better? Creativity and innovation are boosted at a similar rate.
If you’re encouraged by all this news but don’t know where to start, try not to feel overwhelmed. The evidence shows that even just a couple of visible plants are an excellent place to start. Have fun decorating, and enjoy your new leafy friends!
For the latest in air quality and safety, visit the Bob Jenson blog. Since the late 1970s, we’ve been a trusted heating and air conditioning services provider in the San Diego area. We’d love to hear more about your needs or concerns and develop a plan that works for your home or office today.
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