This article discusses our final 3 benefits that can be experienced by introducing plants into the workplace: Help Attract Talent, Increased Humidity, Improved Company Culture.
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 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 next 3 benefits that can be experienced in the workplace by integrating living plants.
1. Helps Attract Talent
If you are spending time in an environment for 40+ hours a week then you can bet it matters what the environment looks and feels like! If you were to think about your office, there are specific things you most likely do to make yourself feel more comfortable in your space whether it is adding some decorations, some greenery, or having items in the correct place for you. The work environment and design of it is especially important when you are wanting to attract talent, as they are good at what they do and are in demand – which means they have choices. While there are things that can be done to sweeten a deal such as offering higher salary or benefits, an uninspiring workplace environment can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths that no amount of sweetener can fix.
Adding plants to the workplace is one of the best ways to enhance the space and attract talent! The presence of plants offers a natural feeling to the space which can enhance overall happiness and satisfaction of the people in their presence. Many studies have been done for companies and recruitment agencies where people stated that they would take a pay reduction to be in a nicer workplace, would give up some benefits to have more natural elements and light in their workspace, and would even turn down job offers if they didn’t like the look and feel of the work environment.
2. Increases Humidity
Another great benefit of having plants in the office is their ability to increase the humidity levels. Plants increase the humidity in the air through a process called evapotranspiration. The water from the soil is absorbed by the roots which then makes its way up the plant through the stems and up to the leaves through transpiration. The pores on the leaves, called stomata, then allow the water to evaporate into the air which results in increased humidity!
Increased humidity is beneficial to the workspace for a couple different reasons. First, it helps to reduce dehydration for employees. Dehydration can affect employees in many ways including discomfort, fatigue, and poor concentration. For more information on the effects of hydration, read our series on How Hydration Affects Work Performance.
The presence of plants will help to maintain and even increase hydration levels of employees through humidity, while also allowing them to be more comfortable. Higher humidity also helps save energy costs in the building as it naturally decreases the temperature around the plant during the evapotranspiration process.
Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor Emeritus at the University of Vermont states that according to the USDA the temperature of a warm office can be reduced by up to 10 degrees from the presence of indoor plants. On the flip side, there are also studies that show a cooler space will appear warmer to us if the humidity levels are higher, which means using less heat to warm the space.
3. Helps Company Culture
A BIG advantage of having plants in the workplace is how they contribute to improved company culture. All of the benefits we have explained in this article series will help in creating a positive company culture including reduced stress and absence rates, increased productivity and creativity, cleaner air quality, less noise, and the general increase in happiness from the natural beauty of their surroundings. Beyond these elements, there is also huge value added to the culture when employees are involved and responsible for taking care of the plants in their workspace.
When employees care and are responsible for maintaining their work environment, they start to feel a sense of pride for the space they are working in and are sharing with their coworkers. Plants can be a great reason for that accountability of their space, as this also applies to taking care of plants and keeping them alive and healthy – with an added bonus! While taking care of the plants employees also get the opportunity to watch them grow and progress, which creates a sense of satisfaction for the work they have put in and allows validation for their efforts.
For those employees that don’t know how to take care of plants, this will allow for them to learn from their co-workers and use teamwork to ensure the plants are thriving. Plants also require potting and repotting which gives an opportunity for a great team building exercise!
Take a Leaf of Faith
Who knew plants could bring such great benefits to the workplace?! Attracting new talent, increasing humidity, and improving company culture are only some of the positive impacts plants could make within your workspace. So, maybe it is time to consider buying some plants for the workplace to see the results for yourself! We will leave you with one question to consider: Are you ready to take a leaf of faith?