The importance of adding plants to an office design
“Deep down, we know that the connection to nature is important”
Terrapin Bright Green, 2014
Plants within an office space are becoming more and more prevalent, but why is this? The Biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans tend to seek a connection with nature and other living life forms. An article by Terrapin Bright Green theorised this is why people typically have a drive to vacation in outdoors & natural type locations, this is because we as humans feel a connection to nature. But with a majority of the population living and working in the city we are finding it inherently more difficult to connect with nature.
There is now a shift to incorporate nature into the office environment, bringing that connection back to our day to day lives. We have outlined just a few of the benefits to incorporating plants into an office design.
Reduce stress and improve moods
Due to the long hours spent in an office, traditional office designs can feel quite disconnected to nature. Which can lead to negative emotions including frustration, anxiety, stress and depression. Green is known to have a calming effect on humans, linking back to nature. Also a number of studies have found that introducing plants into the workplace can, make workers less frustrated, more patient and physically healthier, reducing the overall stress for each individual.
Office spaces have long featured neutral tones that provide little inspiration for creativity and collaboration. A study conducted by Havard T.H. Chan found that the cognitive responses of people who worked in a green environment were 61% more than those who work in a conventional environment. Reduced Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels boosts employee’s productivity, for such a small cost of adding a few plants this could significantly increase the businesses output.
Creative block can largely be linked to stress, the more stressed an individual is the less creative they typically are. Office greenery makes a space more inviting and as mentioned above provides a sense of calm, this enables individuals to therefore be more creative. A 2015 Report by Human Spaces identified employees who work in environments with natural elements were overall 15% more creative. It is amazing to think that workplaces or departments that require creativity can simply add a few plants to the office to improve the employee’s ability to perform creative tasks.
Freshen the air
Closed offices have higher rates of toxins in the air due to the synthetic furnishings within an office and the lack of fresh air circulation. Danica-Lea Larcombe from ABC identified a variety of toxins that can build up within an office including formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia from cleaning products and more, indoor plants have been found to filter out all the pollutants. In a way plants are a natural air filter, emitting pure oxygen.
During the day plants absorb carbon dioxide for the photosynthesis process, carbon dioxide has been found to cause headaches, drowsiness and make it difficult to concentrate. A different article by ABC stated CO2 levels reduced by about 10 per cent in an air-conditioned building and 25 per cent in a building without air-conditioning.
Reduce sick leave
Due to office buildings using air-conditioning and turning away from natural ventilation a significant amount of pollutants are trapped in the air. This has led to an emergence of Sick Building Syndrome, giving people a variety of symptoms similar to that of colds and flus including sinus pain, runny or blocked nose, headaches, lethargy and more. As discussed above the introduction of plants within these office spaces can greatly reduce the level of pollutants in the air and intern reduce the illnesses causing sick leave.
The prevalence of open-plan offices has led to offices needing to find a solution to reduce noise within an office space. Plants boast sound absorbing properties and are therefore the perfect choice for any noisy office space.
Plants within an office obviously provide numerous benefits to individual’s health and wellbeing. Another benefit of plants is the ability to liven up an office design, we have all seen how plants can provide a stunning feature in an office.
There are various ways plants can be introduced into the office space. Plant walls are a popular design element for offices, preventing the sound bouncing around the room similar to that of purpose built sound proofing plus they are a stylish addition to the office. Planter boxes are another simple way of seamlessly adding plants to an office, these planter boxes fit neatly on top of our storage range to tie the plants into the overall design, storage units can also be positioned anywhere in the office.