This time each year, our industry body Plants@Work marks National Plants at Work Week, and this year the theme is ‘plants to the rescue’.
Plants are an evergreen choice for interior design in all types of building, and the first impression we get from seeing indoor planting is that it improves the look and feel of a room.
But are so much more than simple good looks. Office and house plants quietly improve our daily lives in many ways. And, when we are feeling stressed, sluggish, low or under the weather, they can help lift our mood and wellbeing in a range of ways.
So, how do plants come to our rescue on a daily basis?
Biophilia: a big word for a simple concept.
In short, it relates to the intuitive connection humans have to nature and the positive effect it has on our wellbeing.
Being near nature, or even just seeing elements of nature, has been proven to reduce stress and increase happiness, creativity and productivity. But most of us don’t have regular access to the great outdoors on a regular basis.
The word ‘biophilia’ was coined by social psychologist Eric Fromm in 1964, but in recent years it has become a veritable buzzword in our industry, as people realise the importance of reconnecting with our natural roots to ease the stresses of our busy lives.
Indoor plants are a simple way to introduce natural elements to a space. Studies have shown that having plants in view can even speed up hospital recovery time in patients.
Plants are also air-cleaning power houses. We spend on average 90 per cent of our time indoors these days, and indoor air quality isn’t always the healthiest, especially where ventilation is limited.
Airborne viruses, moulds and toxins from furnishings and electrical equipment are often present in our workspaces. Live plants in the right quantity can clean our air and raise humidity levels, creating healthier indoor spaces.
Plants improve indoor air in three important ways:
- They replace CO2 with O2
- They improve humidity levels
- They remove harmful toxins, dust, mould and bacteria
In face, studies have proven that plants can:
- Improve indoor acoustics; especially helpful in open plan settings
- Increase moisture levels in a room by 17% in Winter (Wageningen Environmental Research)
- Remove 87% of airborne indoor toxins in a 24-hour period (NASA)
- Reduce airborne moulds and bacteria by 50-60% compared to rooms without plants (Stennis Space Centre)
- Reduce sick leave by up to a fifth (Wageningen Environmental Research)
So there you have it: a look at some of the many ways our leafy friends come to our rescue in our busy lives.
For more on National Plants at Work Week 2023, click here.
Take a closer look at the health benefits of plants on our dedicate page.