We recently spoke about the perks of greenery in the home place. Now, with the new year and most of us back at work, whether at home or in an office, it seemed to make sense that we should investigate the best office plants a bit more to get us off to a great start to the year and beat those winter blues.
Evidence has shown that employees perform better when household plants are added to workplace offices – an impressive 15% increase in productivity in comparison to emptier work spaces to be exact. Employee performance including memory retention is improved substantially through adding a burst of greenery to a bare work environment.
Commonly most offices adapt a minimalist approach or ‘lean’ office practice. However, there is zero evidence that such an interior does anything what so ever for productivity contraire to popular belief that ‘less is more’. As explained by Dr Chris Knight; ‘If you put an ant into a 'lean' jam jar, or a gorilla in a zoo into a 'lean' cage – they're miserable beasties... ‘People in ‘lean’ offices are no different.’ To reap the benefits (all of which are explained in detail later on) ensure that every employee can see a plant from their desk.
Image credit: Soda and Mulch
Besides the obvious aesthetically charming qualities fresh plants offer and the boost in mood they provide, office plants have psychological powers that spark a real cognitive boost-fact. Nature has long provided an uplifting force for the office bound – with offices overlooking nature as opposed to concrete also proving to have a positive effect on employees’ mental and physical health.
This all works because plants offer micro-restoration – in other words, the opportunity for our brains to recharge throughout the course of the day. A lot of different research has been conducted on the topic, most of which lead back in some way to a principle thought up by psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan named ‘attention restoration theory.’
Imagine it like this - our brains use up a lot of energy on jobs that call for direct attention, however this can cause mental fatigue which can be restored when we give our direct attention a rest. Sleep is very effective in allowing the brain to recharge in this way, but when we’re awake, we can also freshen our attention by shifting our minds to the indirect and effortless for a moment or two. Many tiny bursts of attention restoration can add up to a significant amount of focus – and something as simple as turning your attention to an office plant can achieve this, plus the six other wonderful benefits listed below…
The most talked about benefit of greenery in the office is unsurprisingly centred on the increase in focus and productivity – we are talking about work after all. However lesser known facts are listed below including reduced stress and better skin – not that you need any more convincing to get down to your local garden store. Oh and did we mention better health?
Another huge benefit of office plants is the powerful quality they embody to reduce stress. If a productive and stress-free workplace is starting to sound tempting read on to discover our top five list of recommended office plants. Green offices encourage positive psychological changes, for example, plants help us perceive our surroundings as more welcoming calming, colourful and relaxing. Research conducted in 2014 presents the following facts:
Image edited from: Green Me
Studies have shown that adopting a green office can reduce absenteeism by up to 50% while cutting back mirror injury by 30%.
Plants have the ability to improve the quality of air within an office space – CO2 can be reduced by 50% while reducing the dust, mould and other bacteria that may be present around the room by 20%. Not only will you work better in a green office but you will also breathe less toxins in the space you spend a lot of your time. To effectively reap the benefits ensure there is 1 plant per 3 employees.
If you thought that there wasn’t much else office plants could do for your concentration you’d be wrong – science proves that greenery can also reduce noise within an office by as much as 5 decimals. Less background noise means greater concentration and happier employees and employers.
Another study on office plants found that they can even spark creativity by 15% - and with creativity evoking an array of positive affects LINK office plants once again prove to be a wholly beneficial addition to the office.
As well as being healthier you’ll look healthier too. Research has found that office plants can reduce dry skin by 20%.
Aloe Vera plants are great for the brighter office. Position the plant near a window and enjoy the visual appeal, while if you want to you can use the gel from the inside of the leaves to moisturise dry hands.
Spider Plants make a great office addition as they are perfect for high shelves. They thrive in partial sun or shade so are perfect all year round. Low-maintenance, spider plants can withstand watering infrequently, simply keep your spider plant in an appropriate sized pot or hanging basket and enjoy.
Image credit: Ali Express
Cactus plants can be perfect for an office space – ideal for individual desk plants, they are robust and require minimal watering. Hardy and air-purifying, a cactus is an easy way to enrich your work space.
Ivy is a beautiful office plant that grows long tendrils of leaves that can be arranged how you so wish. You can train the leaves to grow in various directions to decorate your desk space as you please.
The rubber plant is a tough specie that can withstand minimal light – unlike many other species of its size. It also survives in colder temperatures and is an effective toxin cleaner, an effortless all-round office plant that will add the splash of green your office needs.