Bringing the outside, in - How important is greenery in the workplace?

Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

Reduced Stress

According to a study by Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, significant reductions in stress were recorded where plants were a part of the office environment.

Buildings and office environments appear more calming and simply a nicer place to be when plants are present. They are more interesting, colourful and relaxing. The effects aren’t just psychological either, physiological effects such as lowered blood pressure are also proven benefits of a greener office. Plants also enable us to perceive our surroundings better, we feel more comfortable and this, in turn, reduces stress.

The study found;

  • Tension/Anxiety - 37% reduction
  • Depression/Dejection - 58% reduction
  • Anger/Hostility - 44% reduction
  • Fatigue - 38% reduction

Increase Productivity

Productivity is known to be improved in an environment where plants are present. Cognitive tasks, concentration and focus are all improved, therefore increasing productivity within the workforce. In numerous studies conducted it has been found that fewer mistakes are made, tasks are completed faster and, in the case of computer workers, productivity increased by between 10%-15%. The higher level of concentration can be attributed to the plants ability to reduce excess carbon dioxide in the air.

Cleaner Air to Breathe

By introducing a ratio of 1 plant per 3 employees, air quality can be improved within the office. CO2 can be reduced by 50% as well as a reduction in the dust, bacteria and mould which would otherwise be inhaled by employees. Dust levels in the workplace can be reduced by up to 20 per cent when plants are introduced. Manmade toxins within an office created by plastics, paint, furniture, carpets, and certain cleaning products that will be reduced significantly by plants.
With correct placement of plants, the need for air con can also be reduced and the air kept at a higher humidity (up to 20%). By reducing the dry air caused by air conditioning and increasing humidity, illnesses such as tickly coughs are much less common.

Increased Creativity

In one study, plants were seen to increase creativity by 15%. One theory suggests that plants being present invoke our ancient instincts that there is food nearby (berries, fruit etc.) and so we relax, become calmer, are happier and more creative.

Reduce Sickness and Absence

Introducing plants to an office environment has been reported to reduce absenteeism by up to 50%, and reduce minor illness by 30%.
Office plants not only improve office surroundings for employees, they also provide a more welcoming place for clients. As we’re within this environment for a considerable time most days, it’s important that we should be comfortable.

Reduce Noise

One lesser known advantage of plants is their ability to reduce ambient noise within an office, as much as 5 decibels. Background noise, which could otherwise be distracting, is reduced allowing employees to concentrate on their work.

You’ll Look Healthier

It has been found that plants can reduce dry skin by 20%. This means we look healthier as well as feeling better!

On the other hand!

There are down sides to having greenery, it won’t work if they are plastic so someone has to water them!

In my experience this task is soon forgotten and those beautiful green, life enhancing plants look more like a withered stick insect. An educated guess tells me that this would have the opposite effect, so beware.

Also check staff for allergies - you can’t be too careful.

 

Information taken from: https://www.nortec.org.au/benefits-of-plants-in-the-office/

 
Photo of Janette Wright

Janette Wright

04/02/2020

Health & Safety Officer