Plants as a Visual Treat
Remember our elders saying that looking at greenery is good for our eyes. Yes, they are very right when they say so. Plants not only bring varying rich shades of green colors to the workplace that soothes our eyes. They also offer the visually meditative experience that, ultimately, leads to happier and healthier people who are more productive. Plants in offices and home alike bring a visually enhanced perception of your space. An office or home teeming with vibrant greenery is very inviting and welcoming to visitors. In office plants also convey a positive brand image to visitors.
Plants Reduce Stress
A number of studies have been conducted that indicate indoor plants can reduce stress levels in work environments. Introducing plants to your working environment reduces stress. In a study, significant reductions were recorded where plants were located in the office. Including;
• Tension/Anxiety – 37% reduction
• Depression/Dejection – 58% reduction
• Anger/Hostility – 44% reduction
• Fatigue – 38% reduction
The closing statement of the study 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”
Buildings and office environments appear more calming and simply a nicer place to be when plants are present. They are more interesting, colorful and relaxing. The effects aren’t just psychological either; physiological effects such as lowered blood pressure are also proven benefits of a greener office. Plants also enable us to perceive our surroundings better, we feel more comfortable and this, in turn, reduces stress. Even Feng Shui believes the same. According to Feng Shui placing a money plant or peace lily in front of a sharp corner or angle reduces anxiety and stress.
Plants Clean The Air
Modern office buildings, with predominantly sealed air, can contain up to ten times more pollutants than the air outside. Common toxic culprits found in the office are mold, formaldehyde, dust mites, carbon monoxide and chemical cleaning agents. Plants improve the indoor air quality by removing harmful toxic pollutants. Plants also stabilize humidity levels. Peace Lily, Ferns and Money plants are known as effective air purifying plants and are also good humidifiers. Snake plant or Sensivieria is known for releasing nighttime oxygen. The other plant air filter includes Rubber Plants, Syngonium, Chinese evergreen or Aglaonema. All these plants top in the air-purifying list of NASA. There is general agreement amongst scientists that plants improve the indoor environment and are useful in fighting the modern phenomenon of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). No specific cause of SBS has been identified but poor air quality, excessive background noise and inadequate control of light and humidity are all thought to be important factors.
According to The Clean Air Study, which was performed by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, the toxins, which cause sick building syndrome, are:
• Trichloroethylene - Found in printing inks, paints and varnishes
• Formaldehyde - Found in paper bags, facial tissues and paper towels
• Benzene - Found in plastic resins, dyes and furniture wax
• Xylene - Found in rubber, leather and paint
• Ammonia - Found in window cleaners, floor waxes and fertilizers
These toxins have been shown to produce adverse health effects to those exposed to them. The severity of effects depends on how often and how much you are exposed to these toxins. Below are just some of the adverse effects people potentially face when exposed to these specific toxins in the short term.
• Trichloroethylene - dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting
• Formaldehyde - irritation to nose, mouth and throat and in severe cases swelling of the larynx and lungs
• Benzene - irritation to eyes, dizziness, headaches, confusion and drowsiness
• Xylene - irritation to mouth and throat, heart problems, headaches and dizziness
• Ammonia - eye irritation, coughing and sore throat
By introducing a ratio of 1 plant per 3 employees, air quality can be improved within the office. CO2 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 per cent when plants are introduced. There are also man made toxins within an office created by plastics, paint, furniture, carpets, and certain cleaning products that will be reduced significantly by plants.
With correct placement of plants, the need for air con can also be reduced and the air kept at a higher humidity (up to 20%). By reducing the dry air caused by air conditioning and increasing humidity, illnesses such as tickly coughs are much less common.
Plants Increase productivity
Productivity is known to be improved in an environment were plants are present. Cognitive tasks, concentration and focus are all improved; therefore increase productivity within the workforce. In various studies conducted it has been found that 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.
Plants Reduce Noise Levels
Plants are commonly used to reduce noise pollution along highways and interstates. Using the same concept, indoor plants change room acoustics by reducing reverberation time. Plants placed in areas with hard surfaces such as hard wood floors, concrete and marble walls, will effectively absorb noises which can be distracting and hurt employees productivity. One lesser-known advantage of plants is their ability to reduce ambient noise within an office, as much as 5 decibels. background noise, which could otherwise be distracting, is reduced allowing employees to concentrate on their work.
Plants Reduce Sickness and Makes you Look Healthy
Introducing plants to an office environment has been reported to reduce absenteeism by up to 50%, and reduce minor illness by 30%. Reducing absence within the business not only maintains productivity, but also will reduce the cost of absence year on year. Plants clean air, humidify it and also reduced stress. Due to all this, it has been found that plants can reduce dry skin by 20%. This means we look healthier as well as feeling better!
Indoor plants plays a vital role in providing a pleasant and tranquil environment in which to move, work or relax. Because plants have large surface areas and exchange gases and water with their surroundings, plants can reduce carbon dioxide levels, increase humidity, and reduce levels of certain pollutants, such as benzene and nitrogen dioxide and airborne dust levels. So getting a greener indoor environment is a good thought. Take all the benefits now and get some green plants for your office and home. Green is definitely worth it.