Plants, Peace and Productivity

As the weather gets warmer and I head out into the garden, secateurs and seeds in hand, my thoughts have been turning to natural ways to create a better workplace environment.

Research suggests that buildings and office environments appear more calming and are generally nicer places to be when there are plants dotted around. The closing statement of a study 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”.

Natural de-stressors

There are both physical and psychological benefits to making your workplace a bit greener, one of which is to reduce stress. In a 2010 study, significant reductions were recorded where plants were growing in the office.

  • Tension/anxiety – 37% reduction
  • Fatigue – 38% reduction
  • Anger/hostility – 44% reduction
  • Depression/dejection – 58% reduction

The presence of plants at work 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%. The higher level of concentration can be attributed to the plants’ ability to reduce excess carbon dioxide in the air.

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.

One lesser known advantage of plants is their ability to reduce ambient noise within 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.

If you’re contemplating 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:

  • Aloe
  • Spider plant
  • Cactus
  • Succulents
  • Ivy
  • Rubber plant
  • Peace lily

I can also suggest a dracaena marginata (Madagascar Dragon Tree). The one I have seems to be incredibly hardy, 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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DISCLAIMER

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 © 2019 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.