Breathe new life into your workplace

11 January 2016


The 14th of January was our national industry body eFIG’s ‘Healthy Plant Healthy You Day’, where we celebrated all the good things that plants do for us simply by being close by. Anyone who already knows how effective plants are at boosting our health and mood was encouraged to help to spread the word.

As eFIG puts it in their campaign:

‘Plants really help with that healthy New Year’s resolution and they go on helping throughout the year. They’ll help prevent the winter blues and keep the germs in the office to a minimum.

‘They’ll help reduce anxiety and stress as well as keeping everyone happier. They answer our need for biophilia – that connection with nature – by bringing the outdoors in. In fact we can’t think of a reason why well-maintained plants shouldn’t be an essential ingredient for a happy, healthy and productive office.’

The one-day campaign was a great way to remind ourselves that little steps like bringing more office plants into our lives, can make a real and lasting difference to our wellbeing. Visit eFIG’s website to find out more.

Businesses can spend a lot of money and time dealing with absenteeism, poor productivity and stress in the workplace, but the humble office plant is a simple and cost-effective way to alleviate these problems.

Study after study has found that plants can improve productivity, enhance creative thinking, reduce stress and common health complaints and even simply make us happier.

Increasingly, we are working in offices without views of nature from our window, and sometimes without windows at all, and we are beginning to feel the effects of this.

In a recent report by Human Spaces a third of people questioned stated that the design of an office would affect their decision to work somewhere, listing natural light, then indoor plants, as the most important elements in a desirable workplace.

And they have good reason to want these simple things: the report also found that those who work in environments with natural elements (greenery and sunlight) report higher levels of wellbeing, productivity and creativity.

Other reports, including one by NASA, have found that ‘Sick Building’ symptoms, such as sore throats, headaches and stress are noticeably reduced by the presence of live plants.

Feeling the health benefits of office plants!

One reason for their healing powers is that plants clean the air of many of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by modern office furnishing, paints and electronic goods which have a knock-on effect on our health. Having plants in an office has been found to considerably reduce symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, sore throats and coughs, often brought about by poor air quality.

And if you still need convincing, here are some more plant facts:

  • Plants can reduce fatigue by 20%, coughs by 40%, headaches by 30% and sore throats by 30%;
  • Enriching an office with plants could increase workplace productivity by 15%;
  • People working indoors with plants in their line of vision do tasks a staggering 12% faster and are able to concentrate better than people who don’t have plants in the room;
  • Having a plant nearby has been proven to increase productivity for people who sit and work at a computer for more than four hours per day;
  • Plants also help with workplace productivity by absorbing noise – great for open plan offices.

Not to mention the effect on a company’s bottom line. Happier, more productive staff can only be good for business. This is something The Guardian’s ‘Sustainable Business’ blog recently explored.

Hopefully there is proof enough here of the business case for office plants, but if you want to find out more about their many benefits, or for inspiration on how to make your workplace greener, visit our website: