How office plants help to improve your well-being

How office plants help to improve your well-being

There’s no denying it, working life can be stressful for us all.

Like in most occupations, approaching deadlines, targets, distracting environments and constant computer work can take their toll.
The problem is these things are generally unavoidable. There’s only so much you can do to quiet a noisy office or create flexible deadlines, not to mention taking people away from their computer screens. If we can’t take the stress out of our day-to-day working lives, we need to find ways to limit any negative effects.

It won’t be surprising to any office employee that work environments can have a huge impact on our happiness and comfort levels. A nice workspace can be the difference between dreading coming to work and enjoying your time in the office. And it’s not only the effect on our mental health that should be concerning. People who feel stressed or uncomfortable end up costing businesses in sick days, unproductive hours, and staff turnover.
Our solution to this dilemma? Office plants.

Plants clean and improve the quality of the air, removing harmful chemicals like benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Poor indoor air quality is likely to be the cause of a syndrome known as ‘sick building syndrome‘. This syndrome has been associated with headaches, dry eyes, nose and throat, a woozy-head feeling and nausea.

Plants also reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 10% in air-conditioned buildings, and a huge 25% in buildings without air conditioning. The more carbon dioxide is in your air, the less you’re able to concentrate. By bringing a few plants into your office space, you’re helping to keep the air fresh and people on track.

People leave behind a microbial cloud of bacteria wherever we go (horrible, I know). And in an office environment, these bacteria form microbial communities that can be harmful to our skin and health. Plants and their soil are full of beneficial bacteria that help to stabilise the delicate ecosystem.
Leaving chemistry and biology behind, plants are simply nice to be around. They’re colourful and relaxing, helping us to increase our creativity and focus. In fact, a recent study found that office plants reduced:

  • Depression and dejection by 58%
  • Tension and anxiety by 37%
  • Anger and hostility by 44%
  • Fatigue by 38%
The study also found that even one plant is enough to make a difference. Another study showed that just looking at pictures of nature helps people to perform better than others.

We have an natural need to be close to nature, and with office hours and housing density increasing, our time in natural environments is disappearing. Just being able to see nature can boost self-esteem, mood, well-being and performance. That’s a lot of benefits for a relatively small change!

Before you head out and buy any old plant, there are a few basic principles to think about first. It should be hardy and easy to maintain, and able to go without water on weekends. It’s likely that your plants will be positioned in spaces away from windows, so they need to be able to thrive in low light.
While they can be beautiful, it’s also a good idea to steer clear of office plants that flower extravagantly. If anyone suffers from allergies, they won’t thank you for the experience.

Some of the best all-rounders across these categories are devil’s ivy, bamboo palm, kentia palm, variegated snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue) and the peace lily which is why we have decided to run a little new year competition for your chance to win one, but there are many beautiful plants that will improve your atmosphere and mood.