Sitting in your office day after day with stark white and gray walls and no access to windows puts a damper on your mood.
With the increase in urbanization, we are spending more and more time indoors, mostly at work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 89% of full-time workers average 8.5 hours of work on any given weekday – that’s a whole lot of time indoors!
Biophilic design can help improve employee work quality, the well being of employees, and can enhance the overall aesthetic of an office environment.
Here are 14 reasons your office needs plants now!
IMPROVES EMPLOYEE WORK QUALITY
1. Increased Productivity
According to a recent study by Voucher Cloud office employees are truly productive for about 2 hours and 53 minutes in an 8-hour workday. This statistic is terrifying for any business owner, but adding indoor plants to the office environment can help increase productivity by up to 15%!
This can be achieved by simply adding plants or living walls. When it’s that simple, it’s an easy decision!
2. Increase in Creativity
A German study showed that participants were more creative after being exposed to the color green. Guess what has a lot of green? You guessed it - plants!
In addition, having live plants in the space makes it feel fresher as compared to a more stark, monotonous space. Simply being surrounded by natural elements can help spark creativity in employees.
3. Reduction in Employee Absenteeism
Incorporating biophilic design creates an environment that is more pleasant to work in, making employees feel happier in the space. This leads to increased employee attendance.
Below we discuss how well-being can also contribute to the overall work quality including higher attendance due to keeping people healthier.
4.Helps Employees Feel More Valued
Research shows that environments with plants affect the perceived value by adding a sense of luxury and prestige. In a 2003 study by Kathleen L. Wolf, she found that guests in retail spaces were more likely to spend more when there were plants in the space. The perceived value instills confidence in the product.
Although this aspect has not yet been studied, we can conclude that because people associate tropical plants with success, it can also increase the perceived value for current and future employees.
Since plants can increase confidence in retail environments it is likely that employees will feel confident in their workplace as well. You can conclude that this factor contributes to work quality by making employees feel more valued and therefore highly likely to put more effort into their work.
IMPROVES EMPLOYEE WELLBEING
The key component contributing to increased work quality of employees is improved wellbeing. It’s common knowledge that when we don’t feel great, our work is affected through decreased cognitive function, inability to focus, and negative thinking.
In a study by Interface, workers in office environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight reported a 15% higher sense of well-being than offices without biophilic elements.
Here are ways that indoor plants can improve the overall wellbeing of employees and in return offer higher quality work.
5. Stress Relief
Stress has been classified as the health epidemic of the 21st century by the World Health Organization. Chronic stress can lead to physical and mental symptoms that contribute to decreased productivity and employee absenteeism. HCA Healthcare outlines stress symptoms such as:
lack of sleep
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 61% of Americans indicate that work is the predominant source of stress. With numbers like this, it is crucial to bring down stress levels. Indoor plants can contribute to this effort by providing a sense of relaxation, reducing fatigue, and adding visual relief.
6. Reducing Illness
Similarly, leaving chronic stress unaddressed can lead to or increase symptoms of many more serious health conditions like heart disease, asthma, gastrointestinal issues, migraines, depression, and weakened immune system. Therefore, by reducing the overall stress of employees, you also help prevent or reduce symptoms of serious medical issues that lead to more absent employees.
7. Improving the Air Quality
In offices that have no windows that can be opened, improving the indoor air quality is especially important.
NASA conducted an experiment that tested the effectiveness of plants removing common indoor toxins like Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene that proved to be effective in decreasing the overall contamination of each chemical. The removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCS) have been shown to be removed by 70% when plants convert them to carbon dioxide and water.
8. Increase Humidity
Offices with large HVAC systems have a tendency to be incredibly dry. Indoor plants can increase the humidity in the air. In return, employees reported having less sore throats, nose bleeds, and dry skin.
9. Reduce Fatigue
Fatigue is a problem that decreases work quality through “reduced alertness, poor judgment, slower reaction to events, and decreased motor skills”.
Environmental issues like pour air ventilation, inadequate lighting, and uncomfortable temperatures can contribute to fatigue. Indoor plants can help reduce fatigue through improving environmental factors like air quality, aesthetically pleasing visuals, absorbing sound and controlling the temperature.
10. Create A Sense Of Relaxation
In a recent survey, 40% of people agree that natural greenery within their indoor environment made them feel calmer and more relaxed. Let’s combine that with the fact that taking regular lunch breaks helps employees feel more refreshed and ready to work. Even so, 38% of workers don't feel encouraged to take them.
Now imagine creating a break room that is filled with plants or living walls (and coffee, of course) offering a place a respite for employees. Allowing employees to recharge in a retreat-like epicenter for their break will help them to come back to work stress-free and more productive!
DESIGN AND AESTHETIC ENHANCEMENTS
11. Add Visual Depth
Office spaces can often feel cold and overbearing, but indoor plants can offer some pretty cool enhancements to the space like:
Creating a fancy focal point
Creating an interesting and beautiful room divider
Adding more interest and color to the environment
Creating a sense of ambiance
These elements allow for the eye to rest from staring at a computer screen and have a pleasing effect for workers.
12. Absorb Sound
You’ve seen those acoustic absorbing panels can sometimes seem like a dull visual in a space. Since research shows that plants (and moss) can absorb sound, why not reduce the number of unappealing panels and add some beautiful greenery to your space?
An excellent way to increase sound absorption is through living walls and moss walls. You can even insert a movable living wall in the form of a room divider. Remember, the more indoor plants the better the noise absorption!
13. Direct The Flow Of Foot Traffic
According to the Manual of Interior Plantscaping by Kathy Fediw, plants can help to direct the flow of foot traffic. You can achieve this by adding a rows of plants to create a pathway.
14. Beautify The Overall Space
And last, but certainly not least, plants are just pretty to look at. There’s nothing better than a little visual relief from staring at a computer screen for eight hours. Having beautiful plants in the office are an amazing way to achieve this.
Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of indoor plants in the workspace, chime in on the comments! What elements are you lacking in your office space and how would you like to see them incorporated into your own workplace?