5 proven effects of office foliage on work wellbeing
Picture an old-fashioned office and what comes to mind? Rows of desks? Grey-tinged walls? Lines of filing cabinets?
Not that long ago, this is exactly what offices looked like. Functional and boring. Staff wellbeing wasn’t a consideration, aside from maybe some free teabags and a few dingy-looking hobnobs in the kitchen.
Thankfully, things have moved on. Today, most companies realise that work environment makes a huge difference to employee happiness and productivity.
One way bosses are creating more pleasurable working conditions is through biophilic design – the practice of bringing elements of nature into buildings.
Modern workspace design now commonly features indoor plants and foliage as a way of ‘bringing the outdoors in’.
At Spacemade, we’re big proponents of office greenery. In fact, biophilic design plays an important role when we’re creating all our spaces.
However, we don’t fill our buildings with plants just because they look pretty (which they obviously do). Office foliage has been proven to have positive effects on people’s mental health.
Here are five reasons why we have plants in all our workspaces…
They decrease stress levels and increase productivity
Having greenery in offices has been shown to have a positive impact on workers’ output, and overall stress levels.
In one study, scientists found that adding plants to a ‘lean’ office so that all workers had a direct view of at least one plant for a period of 2 to 3 weeks increased productivity levels by 15%.
The same study also found that having plants in the office contributed to higher levels of concentration among employees.
Meanwhile, separate research found that being able to see different plant colours was linked to positive feelings of calmness and comfort and contributed to people feeling less stressed and more relaxed.
They are a distraction (in a good way)
If you’ve been in a particularly fraught meeting or had a difficult client phone call, it’s thought that having plants around can distract you from the stressful situation.
According to psychology professor, Michelle Harris of William James College, Massachusetts, when humans experience stress, their brain and body shift into survival mode. A positive experience, such as noticing nature, can redirect their attention and reverse this process.
They make the office look nicer which boosts creativity
Desks dotted with pencil pots, shelves full of old magazines and dirty gym bags in the corner don’t exactly make for a pleasant working environment. At the same time, minimalist, sterile offices aren’t particularly inspiring either.
The answer? A selection of potted plants or other greenery dotted across the workspace. Not only will they make the office look good, foliage has been proven to boost creativity.
One study found men generated 15% more ideas when surrounded by plants and flowers, while women produced more creative, flexible solutions to problems.
They can reduce noise levels
This may sound a bit crazy, but it’s true. Some plants absorb sound, which can help foster productivity in the workplace.
Indoor plants can reduce excess noise levels by deflection, absorption and refraction. You just need to make sure you position them in the optimal place, for example, around breakout areas, where people’s voices may carry.
You also need to choose the right type of plant. Ferns and rubber trees are known to be particularly good noise absorbers.
They make the working environment cleaner
Indoor plants have been found to help clear the air in offices, something which will be of particular interest to people working in big cities where pollution is an issue.
A study by NASA found that certain species of plants were found to be effective in removing common pollutants from the air.
According to plant delivery firm, Patch, snake plants and weeping figs are especially good toxin-busters.
Having plants in the office also contributes to fewer employee sick days. Scientists found that workers in green-certified offices took 30% fewer sickness-related absences.
At Spacemade, our aim is to create workspaces that inspire and motivate our members, but that also offer a relaxing and peaceful environment for everyone to get a day’s work done. That’s why you’ll always find plenty of greenery in our uniquely designed and curated buildings.
Ready to join the new revolution in flexible coworking space? Search now for your nearest Spacemade location.