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The Benefits of Office Plants: Improve Productivity & Mood in the Workplace

Written by: phs Greenleaf

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.

Adding some flowers or an ornamental plant to your desk certainly brightens things up. But there’s more to it than that.

Plants help to clean the air, a huge benefit for any indoor workplace. But the benefits don’t end there, either!

If you work in an office, you likely spend up to 85% of your time indoors. Even with the highest quality air care solutions, spending this much time indoors can cause dizziness, eye fatigue, a blocked nose, throat irritation, headaches and more. This is without even getting into the effects on your mental state.

Even when extremely well ventilated, indoor air is never as good as outdoor air as it can be negatively impacted by pollutants, cleaning products, dust, damp, bacteria and more.

The evidence is by now well known that plants help to filter and clean indoor air, absorbing pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene, converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, and generally improving air quality in a natural way.

But improving air in the office is a pretty well known benefit of office plants - and it’s far from the only benefit you can expect.

Let’s take a look at some more:

Benefits of Plants in the Office

Plants Can Improve Workplace Satisfaction

It’s pretty obvious that working in nature would help improve your general mood and happiness at work. But did you know that office plants can achieve the same thing?

A 2016 study found that employees who regularly worked around office plants or other natural elements had noticeably higher productivity, workplace loyalty and commitment than those who didn’t.

Another study has found that employees with plants in their office environment take fewer sick days and are more productive while at work.

Working with Plants is Good for Health

It has been discovered that indoor plants can help with mental health. Positive results have been found in managing symptoms related to anxiety, depression , dementia and many other mental health conditions.

You might be surprised to hear that plants can help with physical health, too - as evidence suggests that people recovering from surgery, illness or injury require less medication and less time in hospital when they spend time around plants daily.

Plants can Reduce Stress & Boost Attention

Studies have shown that simply looking at a plant for a few seconds can help you perform better at memory related tasks, improve concentration and boost attention span.

In 2015, Korean scientists found that indoor gardening tasks directly reduced the stress response in test subjects, leaving them calmer and more in control. This was compared to a computer based task in which all participants experienced raised blood pressure and increased stress, even those that work on computers daily.

Office plants, then, can be an incredible investment for improving workplace health and mood at a very small cost.

But what plants should you go for?

Best Plants for the Office

When choosing plants for the workplace, you need to consider the natural environment the plant most easily thrives in.

Some plants need a lot of sunlight to stay healthy, so these should generally only be used in south or west-facing windows or locations where direct sunlight is present. These include succulents, cacti, daisies, palms etc.

There are also plants that can burn with too much sunlight and prefer low light, or mild/dappled shade. These can be amazing choices for places away from the windows, including in work cubicles or dim offices. These include ferns, philodendrons and other popular house plants.

NASA research has found that you only need around 1 plant per 100 square feet to effectively clean the air, so in an average 10x10 cubicle, one plant is plenty.

The ideal office plants are low maintenance, suitable for low light and effective at cleaning the air. Some examples include peace lilies, spider plants, gerberas and palms.

Care Tips for Office Plants

Plants sometimes have a reputation for being difficult to care for, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Generally, there are only 4 main points to consider with any plant, and they are:

Light: Sunlight is what allows a plant to photosynthesize and create energy to grow. Generally plants will prefer either full sun or partial shade, with some preferring low light levels. All you need to do is be aware of what type of light a plant prefers and place it in an appropriate location.

Water: Some plants need daily watering and prefer moist roots, whereas others (like succulents) prefer dry soil and very rare watering. As long as you are aware which way a plant leans and water regularly, it’s easy to keep things going smoothly. It is crucial however that the soil can drain itself naturally. An easy way to do this is to drill holes in the bottom of a pot and place it on a tray or bowl to catch any leaking water. A plant whose soil does not drain properly will quickly get waterlogged and rotten roots.

Temperature: Most plants have an ideal temperature. Check the care label if one is given, or research the plant online if not. Given that your office thermostat likely already has an agreed on level, it is usually better to choose a plant that suits your environment, instead of trying to change the environment to suit the plant.

Fertilizer: The last point is food for the plant. For vegetables, fruits, berries etc this is crucial but for basic houseplants, ferns, succulents etc then it becomes barely necessary at all. Check up on your plants requirements and if feeding is recommended, get a specialised plant feed and use in line with the instructions. If feeding isn’t recommended you can skip this step entirely!

House Plants and Employee Performance

Office plants aren’t just about making a workplace more pretty and welcoming, although they certainly do that. There is evidence that they can also improve workplace output, employee satisfaction and more.

A study in Norway found that adding houseplants to an office can also reduce employee absence by directly reducing colds, headaches, coughs and sickness by up to 60%.

How Can phs Greenleaf Help?

phs is the UK’s most experienced supplier of corporate plants to workplaces, from office plants and indoor house plants in stores to outdoor plant displays at pubs, hanging baskets, grounds maintenance, invasive plant removal and more.

Our team can take care of all watering, pruning, feeding, and cleaning to keep your plants, healthy, beautiful and long lasting.

To learn more about what we can do for you or to request a brochure, contact us now!

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