The Benefits of Indoor Plants in the Office
by Sarah Gardiner
Sarah is a horticulturist with a passion for edibles and cottage gardens.
Picture this... It’s a Monday morning, your weekend already feels like it was a lifetime ago and you’re stepping back into the office. When we picture offices, your mind might go to the sterile, dreary grey walls and LED lights that make you reach for the Ibuprofen in your bag.
When urban offices lack natural life, they can impact greatly on motivation and stress levels. With an average of 40 hours a week in a workspace, it’s important to curate an environment that boosts productivity, reduces stress and encourages creativity. Plants have so many benefits and whether you’re a greenthumb or not, you’re no doubt aware of them. So if you haven’t already begun, it’s time to start sprucing up those bleak shades of grey in your office and bringing some of the natural world in.
Studies from the EPA determine that indoor air
is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air
we breathe outdoors.
1. Plants Improve Office Aesthetics
We know the aesthetic benefits plants can bring to a space - the beauty of a tall Ficus in the corner of a bright room speaks for itself. It can be as easy as chucking a big, lush plant in a room to spruce up a space without having to paint the walls a different colour. Whether you start out with a desk plant like a Syngonium or perhaps you’re looking for the instant effect of something like a big Monstera in your corner - growing plants in the office is adding visual interest to enhance your room. This will instantly make it a more welcoming and attractive space for you, your colleagues and clients.
2. Plants Improve Mood And Reduce Stress
Why is it exactly that plants have such a positive effect on our mental health? By simply looking at plants it can help us to feel grounded and calm. Maybe we’ve all got a little bit of biophilia going on and can’t help but feel the desire to be connected to the natural world.A study that was carried out by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) found that 30-60% of staff with plants strategically placed in their offices had a reduction of stress levels over the course of three months. Interestingly enough, just adding one plant was enough to have a positive impact on staff moods.
3. Plants Improve Air Quality
Surely we’ve all heard it before - plants possess physiological benefits such as the ability to purify the air we breathe. With all the more time we’re spending inside, density in cities increasing and the size of our living spaces decreasing - it’s important to do what we can to ensure the air we are breathing is as clean as possible. Air pollutants like dust, mould, smoke, perfume and cleaning products pollute the air inside our offices, often exacerbating health issues and leading to chronic illness. Through a plant’s natural process of photosynthesis, they can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and remove harmful toxins out of the air, leaving us with more oxygenated air filling our space. When choosing a plant for air-purifying benefits, NASA suggests opting for a Boston Fern, Peace Lily or Devil’s Ivy for maximum effect.
4. Plants Inspire Creativity
Our routine has certainly been everchanging the last couple of years. Maybe your studio has been converted into a home office and your creative space is plonked on your couch. With more people heading back into the office, it’s important to achieve the same comfort and creativity that you might have been used to working from home. OK... to some extent - we’re not suggesting you continue to take that lunchtime nap at your desk! Instead, channel those home office vibes and bring your plants and your favourite pots back into your work office with you. Studies from Texas A&M University suggest that workers surrounded by living plants generated 15% more creative ideas, better problem solving and more innovative thinking than those in offices without plants. Now there’s some food for thought... start filling that desk!
So, whether you’re in it for the aesthetic pleasure, the air-purification or simply seeking some Zen from the natural world, bringing living plants into the office can have a mountain of psychological and physiological benefits. When we are connected with nature, we are given an unspoken opportunity to slow down and focus on what we are doing. Having plants in our office brings nature to our immediate surroundings and lets us forget the stresses of the daily grind, even if it's only for a fleeting moment.
For help or some ideas choosing the best plants for your workspace, check out the Root'd Office Plant Collection for our favourite picks.