This article discusses the first 3 benefits that can be experienced by introducing plants into the workplace: Reduced Stress, Increased Productivity, and Reduced Absences and Sickness Rate.
Imagine your favourite outdoor space. There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you take that deep breath of fresh air, surrounded by nature and all the life it brings. Well, it turns out there is a name for that. Scientists hypothesize that we have an instinctive tendency to seek connection with nature and other forms of life, which they refer to as “biophilia”. The term biophilia was used by German-born American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973), which described biophilia as “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.” The term was later used by American biologist Edward O. Wilson in his work Biophilia (1984), which proposed that the tendency of humans to focus on and to affiliate with nature and other life-forms has, in part, a genetic basis. Knowing now that connecting with nature is essential for us as humans, you are probably wondering how this relates to the workplace!
Biophilic Design is a term used for indoor spaces that incorporate natural elements in order to boost occupant’s health and well-being. This concept is used in the building industry to help connect the building occupants more closely with nature through the use of natural design elements such as natural lighting, ventilation for airflow, and natural landscape elements and features. However, biophilic design can also be easily applied to workspaces by incorporating living plants! Many [link 1]studies have shown that simply adding living plants to the workspace can have benefits for both employees and employers. Let’s take a look at the first 3 benefits that can be experienced in the workplace by integrating living plants.
1. Reduced Stress
While stress is unavoidable in the workplace, there are things we can do to help with those stress levels. Having plants present in the workplace can contribute to lowering the stress levels of employees, and of course their employers as well. There are many stress factors present for business owners, and we understand that stressed out employees are a large contributing factor to the general energy of the work environment which will affect most people’s mood, and therefore their work and effectiveness to do their job. Studies have shown that having plants present in the workplace lessens stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, hostility, and fatigue. This may be due to the fact that plants give an appearance of calmness and serenity within a workspace. Whatever the reasons behind it, stress reduction is a welcomed win-win situation for all work environments!
2. Increased Productivity
Studies have found that the presence of plants in the workplace increases overall productivity for employees. Focus and concentration levels are boosted, which means tasks are completed faster and with fewer mistakes. After studying this concept for 10 years, a team of psychologists from the Exeter University concluded that employees are 15% more productive when there are houseplants and decor present. Having plants that are visible to employees from their workspaces could prove very beneficial for the work environment as a whole. Higher productivity means higher efficiency, which gives the opportunity for increased sales and/or services, which leads to higher income! In the long-run, higher productivity rates allow more room for development and growth within the company – and that’s a BIG deal for business success!
3. Reduced Absences and Sickness Rates
One of the most immediate results of introducing living plants to the work environment is a reduction in the number of sick days taken by employees. The root microbes in plants naturally filter toxins and harmful chemicals from the air into a source of food and energy. This is believed to help greatly reduce the phenomenon called “sick building syndrome”. Many experts believe this is a syndrome where the symptoms get worse the longer you’re in a particular building, then get better once you leave that building. Symptoms include headaches, blocked or runny nose, dry/itchy skin, dry/sore eyes and throat, coughing and wheezing, rashes, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating. A small study conducted by the Agricultural University of Norway in the 1990s concluded the introduction of plants in one office lead to a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health including fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin, and irritation of the nose and eyes. This is highly beneficial for the employees, as no one likes to be home sick. Consequently, this is also good for employer’s health as well as the business’s health and success due to less time-lost from sick days!
Take a Leaf of Faith
Who knew plants could bring such great benefits to the workplace?! Reducing stress and sickness rates while also increasing productivity are just some of the many advantages living plants can provide to your work environment. So, maybe it is time to consider buying some office plants and see the results for yourself! We will leave you with one question to consider: Are you ready to take a leaf of faith?
If you liked this article but aren’t sold on if plants are something for your office space just yet, don’t worry; we are just planting the seed. For more benefits of plants in the workplace, check-out Part 2 in our series on “Benefits of Plants in the Workplace”.