Importance of plants in the workplace

By Jill Poet on September 10, 2019

Enhancing your workplace with even just a few plants can have a huge positive impact on your staff. Just one plant can reduce negative mood states, staff headaches, reduce stress, anxiety and depression as well as anger – all making a more productive workforce.

Plants are good for us and we have a long-standing relationship with plants, a natural symbiosis you might say.

Thomas Palfreyman, MD of Urban Planters and  Chairman of eFIG Ltd, (the association of Interior Landscapers), says,
 
Interior planting is the perfect natural design and workspace enhancement.  Literally, the responsible way to ‘green’ your business!
 
And it makes sense when you look closer.  Nearly all of us hanker after green spaces probably because we have a natural affinity with nature; our ancestors lived and worked outside and plants were a staple source for many of their needs. 
 
In the 21st century our genes have barely changed from those of early man but our lifestyles have. Now we depend upon modern technology and spend the majority of our time indoors so it is little wonder that we benefit from bringing a little bit of the outside in.
 
Much research over the last 20 years or so, has confirmed that plants are good for us especially at work.
 

Clean fresh air:

The air in many workspaces can be as much as 10 times more polluted than the air outside. Indoor air pollution is caused by a variety of conditions.  No or limited ventilation for air exchange, the number of people using the space and the main culprits, man-made products. 
 
  1. People exhale Carbon Dioxide as they breathe
  2. Man-made products such as electrical equipment, carpeting and upholstery, flues and adhesives, cleaning products, particle boarding used in fit-outs and even personal hygiene products –  off-gas for their life-time into their environment
 
Plants work to clean the air by absorbing any toxins off-gassed by these products – important when you consider we need to breathe 5 -6 litres of air per minute.  It makes logical sense that breathing clean air is healthier.
 
The knock-on effect of cleaner air is that occupants are less likely to suffer a range of symptoms connected to poor quality indoor air such as headaches, blocked sinuses, fatigue, skin irritations and even asthma.  Of course, if these symptoms are reduced then time taken off work is also reduced.
 
Interior planting can reduce the occurrence of headaches by as much as 45%.
 

Work high up on the stressometer

Stress at work is big costing UK businesses £3.7 billion per year! Creating a green oasis can lower stress levels affecting us physically by reducing pulse rates and systolic blood pressure readings and psychologically, keeping us calm. No wonder green is the colour of calm according to colour therapy!
 
There are several academic theories that show that
 
  • The more plants you can see from your desk, the less stressed you feel
  • A plant on or by your desk keeps you calm and focused especially if you work with a computer for 4 hours or more at a time
  • just one plant can reduce negative mood states, reducing stress, anxiety and depression as well as anger – all making us more productive
 
With cleaner air and a calmer, more focused workforce, you won’t be surprised to learn that those same employees are able to concentrate better and are therefore more productive.
 
Interior landscaping is an investment that pays dividends – less absenteeism, more productivity can’t be bad.
 
Add to that the fact that plants help us to be more creative and also elicit better problem-solving ideas and it’s no wonder that many of the big corporations retain budget for interior planting and maintenance.
 

How many plants?

As you’ve heard just one plant can improve negative moods including stress and aid concentration, for air cleaning, at least 1 plant per 3 people will make a difference.

 
A research study carried out in Scotland two years ago used this calculation and even though many of the plants were quite small this proved enough to have a significant effect on the air quality including reducing carbon dioxide by 50% and monoxide levels significantly.
 

Other plant attributes

Plants seem to have a much greater effect on us than we’d expect:
 
    • They have a positive effect on us psychologically so we recover from tiredness and stress more quickly
    • They make rooms look bigger
    • And help us to feel more confident and energised
    • Water-loving plants raise humidity levels keeping occupants comfortable
    • They improve acoustics and reduce noise
    • Provide shade under their foliage
    • They humidify and cool the air by evaporation
    • They reduce dust particles
 

Plants are great multi-taskers.

 

Which plants work best?

Well, all plants work in the same way to clean the air and seem to have similar stress-reducing qualities.  Water-loving plants are the ones that are best for humidification, and reducing dust, but essentially all plants will help to create a green oasis at work.
 
“A right plant, right location, policy will help plants be most effective for you needs,” claims Thomas Palfreyman Chairman of eFIG Ltd and MD of Urban Planters.  “A professional interior landscaper can not only advice on this but also on design and placement for you and of course can offer any necessary after-care including maintenance to ensure your plants always look at their best.”
 
For advice, check out the eFIG members list for professional interior landscapers in your area.
 
efig open office planning picture      efig plants picture
Open office planting Scheme                       Keeping the workplace happy
 
eFIG plant picture   
Keeping the noise to a minimum
 

Who are eFIG?

eFIG, the European Federation of Interior Landscape Groups is a not-for-profit group promoting the use and benefits of interior planting, raising industry standards and setting the guidelines for industry quality and reliability.   

eFIG Logo

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