Benefits of Indoor Plants in Your Home or Office
Humans have an innate desire to be around nature, a term scientists have coined as ‘Biophilia’. So you can only imagine the impact that modern-day workspaces have on people. These days most of our workspaces are stripped of that connection to the natural environment, and if you read on, it's not all that hard to add nature to your workspace either!
With so many studies out there having proven and boasted the benefits of having greenery in the workplace - what exactly is it about plants that help apart from the fact they look pretty?
1. Reducing Stress
A study conducted by a university in 2010 found that the introduction of even a single plant into the workplace was a huge alleviator of stress. Results included a 47% decrease in feelings of tension and anxiety, a 58% reduction in depression and a 44% decrease in anger and hostility. It was even found to reduce fatigue by a whopping 38%. Time to throw away the bed & coffee and buy yourself a pot plant (we're joking, by the way - we love our bed and our coffee).
While the sample size was small, researchers concluded that just one plant per workspace can do a great deal in lifting staff spirits and promoting wellbeing and performance.
Plants add to the ambience of a space, but according to colour psychology, the green hue is found to have a calming effect, which could be why decorating an office with this colour may have that type of an effect on a workplace.
2. They help to increase productivity
According to a 2014 research study by the University of Exeter, adding just one plant per square meter was enough to find a 15% jump in productivity - the most important part being that workers are able to see a plant from their workspace. If you’re working in an environment where there’s something keeping you ‘psychologically engaged’, you are happier and you work better.
3. Reducing sickness and absence rates
In the 2015 Human Spaces Report, a study was conducted on 7,600 office workers across 16 countries. It was found that nearly two-thirds of working have no live plants in their workspace. Of those whose environments did, it was reported that they scored 15% higher in wellbeing scores, and 6% higher in productivity than those who didn’t have plants or natural elements in their offices.
Another study by the Agricultural University of Norway in the 1990s found that introducing places into the workspace was linked to a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health (fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin, eye & nose irritation, etc.).
Professor Dr Tøve Fjeld in a 2011 blog post stated that the presence of plants may result in a positive change in the psychosocial aspects of a working environment. The feeling of wellbeing may be impacted by people’s psycho-biological reaction to nature, and the need to be connected to feel well.
4. Attracting Job Applicants
Did you know that up to one-third of people say that workplace design impacts their decision to join a company? It’s not surprising either. The prominence of Biophilic design/designs inspired nature is not only in the fact that it helps workers become more productive, but the fact that it helps humans and their innate desire to connect with the natural environment to actually be connected to elements of nature in the workplace.
Looking at a snapshot of global working environments, up to one in five people have no natural elements within their workspace, and alarmingly nearly 50% of workers have no natural light.
Given the number of hours worked in a day, who would want to be cooped up in a space with no natural light, and only getting a little bit of sunlight on their lunch breaks? And apparently it can be as easy as a couple of pot plants!
5. Cleaner Air
While humans need oxygen to survive, plants need the gases we produce (like carbon dioxide).
In the 1980s, scientists at NASA discovered that plants helped to removed chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air. This made the air cleaner for humans to breathe.
In more recent studies, it was found that plants can reduce carbon dioxide levels by up to 10% in air-conditioned offices, and about 25% in buildings without air conditioning.
6. Boosts Creativity
In a 2015 Human Spaces report - it was found that employees whose offices included natural elements such as plants were able to score up to 15% higher for creativity.
In the attention restoration theory - it’s suggested that looking at nature (and even pictures of nature!) can shift your brain into a different type of processing mode. The impact of this making people feel more relaxed and therefore better able to concentrate.
There are so many benefits to incorporating natural elements into your indoor space, and the changes don't necessarily have to be expensive. It’s really about as simple as a little pot plant for your workers. But before you go running out to buy a plant… remember that not all plants are created equal (for indoor environments, anyway).
There are certain plants that thrive better in different environments, so it’s important to consider the type of office you have and the amount of light that you have - because we’re pretty sure withering plants don’t have as positive of an impact on mood!
Plants for low light
Plants for medium light
Plants for high light
Keeping Your Plant Alive!
If you're infamous for your inability to keep your plant babies alive, we've got you. These simple tips below will ensure that you won't turn your office into a plant cemetery!
1. Setting up a watering schedule
Firstly, not all plants are created equal! Find out more about your plants and how much they should be watered by doing a little bit of research. You'll find that some plants require the soil to completely dry before you rewater, while others prefer a light misting. This means that you may need to switch watering techniques between different plant species. Depending on how many plants you have (and how organised you are) - you can keep a spreadsheet to stay on top of when to water them.
2. The correct lighting
Much like the tip above - it helps to learn more about your plants and how much light they like. Some might prefer filtered light because they're used to being shaded on a rainforest floor, which means that it's best to keep them away from the harshness of direct light that can cause them to burn. Some may prefer little light, which means setting them further back in the office away from the windows. Wherever it is, we recommend keeping it within eyesight - so that the office gets the full benefits of an indoor plant!
3. Fertilise during Spring/Summer
Spring and Summer is when plants like to actively grow, so using liquid fertilisers can help support new growth with added nutrients. When it comes to fertilising, again, research what type of fertiliser work best for your plant as they may have different requirements! Also make sure to keep a schedule on who and when the plant should be watered with liquid fertiliser - as over-fertilising may harm the plant!
4. Don't let them sit in water!
While plants generally thrive in moist soil - if you have them constantly sitting in water without proper drainage, this can encourage root rot. You should make a point to check the plant saucers and empty out the water if you're noticing that it isn't drying out.
5. Keep them away from the doors
Are your plant babies sitting too close to an open window or door? If they are, it's probably time to find it a new home! Drafts of wind can cause fluctuations in temperature which can be harmful to your plant - particularly tropical plants that are used to warmer climates and higher humidity. By keeping your plant away from drafty areas, it makes it easier to control the temperature and humidity within its environment, making for a happier, healthier plant!