Everybody wants to achieve better productivity in the workplace. You’ve probably tried all sorts of tricks to be 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. The fact that plants increase productivity may sound like a wild claim, but this theory is backed up by science.
So what do plants actually do? Let’s take a look at the strong relationship between plants and productivity.
How do plants in offices increase happiness and productivity?
In today’s fast-paced work culture, companies are constantly searching for new ways to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace, and one often overlooked solution could be right in front of us: plants.
Here are some of the many ways that using plants as office decor could improve our productivity in the workplace.
Plants reduce noise in the office
Plants are not only a beautiful addition to any office, but they also have the added benefit of helping to reduce noise levels. The leaves, branches, and soil of plants all work together to absorb, refract, and reflect sound waves, making them an excellent natural sound barrier. By incorporating plants for productivity into your office space, you can help to create a more peaceful and calming environment that is conducive to focused work and concentration.
Plants have significant mental health benefits
You might not be surprised to learn that plants have significant mental health benefits. Multiple studies have shown that incorporating plants into the workplace can help to reduce stress, boost mood, and improve overall mental health. In fact, research has found that simply being in the presence of plants can help to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety levels. One study conducted by the University of Technology in Sydney found that employees who had plants in their workspace reported a 37% reduction in tension and anxiety levels, a 58% reduction in depression, and a 44% reduction in anger and hostility.
When you bring the outdoors in, you are ensuring that everyone is taking the time to connect with nature throughout the work day. Through this connection, we can all reap the benefits of a healthier and happier lifestyle.
What are some specific mental health benefits of flowers and indoor plants?
Flowers and indoor plants have a number of specific mental health benefits that make them valuable additions to our daily lives. Here are a few examples:
- Reducing stress: Research has found that simply being around plants and flowers can help to reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure. This can have a positive impact on our overall mental and physical health.
- Boosting mood: Flowers and plants are known to have an uplifting effect on mood, with some studies suggesting that they can even help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. The vibrant colours and pleasant scents of flowers can have a powerful impact on our emotions.
- Enhancing creativity: Studies have found that exposure to nature, including indoor plants, can help to stimulate creativity and improve problem-solving skills. This makes them ideal for office spaces and creative environments.
- Improving concentration: Plants have also been found to help improve concentration and focus, making them ideal for study spaces and work environments
“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 improving indoor air quality and reducing levels of CO2 and VOCs in the air.
And it also seems that employees working in a green office with plants increase workplace productivity and improve problem-solving skills and creativity.
Last year, in fact, 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
Plants create a welcoming environment
Plants have a magical way of creating a welcoming environment in any office space. No matter whether you have a chic modern space or are looking to transform your ordinary, sterile office into a calming oasis, plants allow you to make the most out of your workplace.
Their stunning greenery not only makes employees feel more relaxed and at home, but it also makes visitors and potential clients feel more at ease. After all, who wouldn’t want to do business with a company that has lush, charming plants greeting them at the door?
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.
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.
- Chinese Evergreen
While most indoor plants require a bit of effort in providing the right growing conditions as in light , temperature and humidity, growing a Chinese Evergreen or Aglaonema can make the novice indoor gardener look like an expert.
- Crassula Jade
Crassula Ovata, commonly known as a jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree is a succulent that’s low maintenance and can grow with indirect sunlight. You only need to water and provide plenty of light near a window for it to thrive.
This trailing plant has glossy foliage and is usually kept in a basket. It needs constant 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.
Also called the Swiss Cheese plant, Montsera can grow anywhere with little light. This type of plant needs fertiliser monthly.
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 biggest 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.