Productivity – natural de-stressors – plants at work
According to several studies, plants make the workplace calmer and a generally nicer place to be. The concluding statement of research carried out by the Australian nursery and garden industry reads: “This study shows that just one plant per work space can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance”.
Making your workplace a bit greener brings both physical and psychological benefits. One of these is to reduce stress in a natural way. A 2010 study reported that significant reductions in stress were recorded where plants were growing in the office.
- Depression/dejection – 58% reduction
- Tension/anxiety – 37% reduction
- Anger/hostility – 44% reduction
- Fatigue – 38% reduction
Having plants dotted round the work space can increase productivity too. Cognitive tasks, concentration and focus are all improved. Fewer mistakes are made, tasks are completed faster, and, in the case of computer workers, productivity increased by between 10%-15%. Experts attribute the higher level of concentration to the plants’ ability to reduce excess carbon dioxide in the air.
You don’t need to plant a jungle. By introducing a ratio of one reasonable sized plant per three employees, air quality can be improved. Carbon dioxide can be reduced by 50% as well as a reduction in the dust, bacteria and mould which would otherwise be inhaled by employees. Dust levels in the workplace can be reduced by up to 20% and the impact of man-made toxins created by plastics, paint, furniture, carpets, and certain cleaning products can be reduced significantly by plants.
Plants also have the effect of reduce ambient noise. You see thick planting along the perimeter of housing developments and busy roads. It dulls noise remarkably well and the same is true in an office - as much as five decibels. This means background noise, which could otherwise be distracting, is reduced allowing employees to concentrate on their work.
Offices need fairly hardy plants – not everybody is a Capability Brown. If you’re thinking about a trip to the garden centre to stock up, you’ll need tough plants which will survive a little neglect and are therefore ideal for an office environment. Consider buying:
- Spider plant
- Rubber plant
- Peace lily
I can also suggest a dracaena marginata (Madagascar Dragon Tree). The one I have seems to be incredibly tough, doesn’t need a lot of looking after and has been flourishing in my reception area for the last six years.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2021 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.