Do plants increase workplace productivity?
Everybody wants to increase productivity in the office space. You’ve probably tried all sorts of tricks to being more productive, from the Pomodoro technique to playing classical music. But have you tried something as simple as putting a plant on your desk?
There’s a huge amount of evidence that bringing nature into the office in the form of living indoor plants can increase workplace satisfaction and boost productivity of office workers. It may sound like a wild claim, but this theory is backed up by science. So what do plants do? Let’s take a look at the evidence.
What are Some Mental Health Benefits of Flowers and Indoor Plants
- “Green” Offices Improve Cognitive Function and Creativity
There have been a wide range of studies into the effects of introducing office greenery.
A recent study by leading health and building experts found that cognitive function doubled for participants in an “enhanced green environment”. In particular, crisis response, information use, and strategy scores increased dramatically.
Enhanced green buildings are classed as those with high levels of ventilation, low carbon dioxide levels, and low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While plants don’t have any effect on the ventilation of a building, studies by NASA and other bodies have shown that they’re effective at reducing levels of CO2 and VOCs in the air.
An Exeter University study also found that employees working in an office with plants were 15% more productive than their peers in offices with no plants.
And it seems that employees working in a green office with plants increase workplace productivity and improve problem-solving skills and creativity.
Last year Amazon opened three huge dome greenhouses at their Seattle headquarters to give employees more access to nature and to inspire creativity.
- Plants Promote Relaxation and Reduce Stress
Stressed and unhappy employees are unlikely to reach optimal levels of productivity. A global study of over 22,000 employees found that employees with high-stress levels were less productive and less engaged at work.
Aside from plants increasing workplace productivity, keeping a wide selection in the workspace decreases stress.
Studies have shown that the addition of greenery in the office can be effective at reducing stress and negative feelings by as much as 30-60%.
Most of us have had the relaxing experience of gazing out at the ocean or looking down from a mountain and feeling our stress melt away. Well it turns out; we don’t actually have to be out in nature to benefit from its stress-relieving effects.
Just touching, smelling, and looking at a houseplant can help to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and promote positive feelings which will improve your overall physical health.
Plants can also help you to sleep better, which can also reduce stress and help to boost employee productivity. The scents of some plants can have positive effects. Plants such as jasmine, valerian, and lavender are known for their calming and sedative qualities.
Office Plants and Fresh Air
Plants in the office improve indoor air quality. Poor air quality and indoor pollution are thought to be some of the major contributing factors to “sick building syndrome”. People suffering from this condition will have symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, coughing, itchy eyes, and inability to concentrate, and will experience this only when in a particular building. The condition improves after leaving the building.
As you might imagine, working in an office that has such an effect on its employees can have terrible long-term effects on health. Even if an office doesn’t meet the definition of a “sick building”, poor air quality can still cause major health problems for people with allergies or asthma.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that poor air quality in the workplace results in an increased rate of staff sick leave. Employees off work due to sickness means lost work hours and reduced productivity as a result.
Benefits of Plants at Work
Do you know that plants can also reduce noise levels? It could be one of the less-known benefits of growing plants or keeping them indoors. But you can create a healthy workplace and commercial offices that promote focus and productivity through less noise.
What are the Best Plants to Keep on your Office Desk
Working on your office desk all day long can be mentally exhausting and might get boring at times. Spruce up your working space with these attractive and inspiring potted plants that can give you that mental energy you need to keep going.
- African Violet
If you’re a fan of purple, this flowering plant will make your day. The African violet thrives in the same climate as humans do and bloom with much light even from fluorescent bulbs. If you’re near a window, you can place this where sunlight hits the plant.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a succulent that’s low maintenance and can grow with indirect sunlight. You only need to water it every two or three weeks. Its gel can aid cuts and burns.
- Modern Bamboo
The modern bamboo is a sign of good fortune which might probably be an inspiring thought as you work. It grows with indirect sunlight.
This trailing plant has glossy foliage and is usually kept in a basket. It needs regular watering to maintain its majestic look.
- Peace Lily
The peace lily has air-purifying properties that keep your space free from air pollutants. You can spray the leaves with water especially in summer. Peace lilies also need to be placed in a well-lit area but not in a very humid spot or in direct sunlight.
- Spider Plant
These are sprawling greens that prefer indirect sunlight that need moisture at all times.
- Red Nerve Fitonnia
This lovely tropical plant has a pink and green foliage which need humidity to survive.
Also called Swiss Cheese plant, Montsera can grow anywhere with little light. This type of plant needs fertilizer monthly.
This is an air plant that belongs to the bromeliad family. It has a green, silver and rosy foliage which need to be misted weekly for the plant to thrive.
How do You Care for Indoor Plants
Indoor plants or plants for offices need an ample amount of natural light, water, and warmth. One of the most causes of plant death is over-watering them. Don’t spill your unfinished coffee or tea into the planters. Try not to move them around all the time because plants need to adapt to their surroundings.
For more advice on the best office plants in Australia and how you can use plants to increase productivity in the workplace, get in touch with The Plant Man for office plant hire in Sydney.