Choose the perfect-fit plants for your office space

In our previous article called The benefits of introducing plants into the workplace, we discussed some of the different benefits of introducing indoor plants into your workplace. Some of these include increasing the productivity, creativity, and overall wellbeing of your employees. In this article, we will go into detail about specific indoor plants you might choose to incorporate into your office space, based on the functions and benefit they may serve.

Whilst deciding the perfect plants for your office spaces, first look at what specific function you want them to serve. Is it to simply add a pop of colour to your space? Or are you looking for plants which will provide employees with a calm atmosphere and exert fragrance? In spaces with printers and a lot of carbon in the air, you could even choose certain air purifying indoor plants. And in the case of limited space, you could opt for hanging plants.

When choosing to incorporate indoor plants into your office space, it is important to decide on the placement and variety with consideration to the specific context of the space.

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1. Are you looking for plants to liven up your workspace?

Opt for plants that make a statement and will grow to be a substantial size, maybe even with coloured or funky shaped leaves.

a) Ficus Lyrata or the ‘Fiddle Leaf Fig’

Ficus Lyrata is a very popular indoor plant due to its broad leaves and the fact that they can grow to almost 10ft indoors, therefore acting as prime focal plants. It needs a permanent spot in your office, so it would be perfect for an area with a lot of space, such as a conference room or a social space. This plant requires bright indirect sun, and a moderate amount of watering, especially in the summers.

b) Croton Plant 

Croton plants are colourful and rainbow hued, likely to add fun splashes of colour to your indoor space. They could either have long, narrow leaves or wider oblong leaves. Crotons are best suited to be positioned near window spaces as they require bright light to grow. They are somewhat drought tolerant, requiring less frequent watering, often only every few weeks.

c) Dracaena marginate or dragon tree

Dracaena marginate grows almost straight upwards in small tufts, which is ideal when faced with limited space. It makes a striking visual statement and is therefore perfect as an indoor plant. It can also be easily maintained, doing well in artificial light and being quite drought resistant, it only needs frequent watering during the summer period.

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2. Are you looking for plants which involve the senses?

Opt for plants with a strong aroma, and/or edible plants, and/or multi-use plants.

a) Rosemary

Rosemary is a blue-flowering perennial evergreen shrub. It’s a fragrant, distinctive herb with a sweet, resinous taste. It can grow into a medium sized shrub if permitted to. They require full sun and moderate watering.

b) Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is one of the easiest plants to grow. It adds a nice pop of colour to the space and can grow quite large if allowed to. It is also multifunctional: apart from purifying the surrounding air, it can be used to treat a multitude of skin issues. It prefers bright sunlight and also hardly requires watering. It is the perfect plant to grow indoors if you are looking for an addition to your space which requires very little maintenance.

c) Lavender

With grey-green foliage, upright flower spikes, and a compact shrub shape, lavender is a well-known and fragrant herb, that can be grown indoors in your workspace. It can be potted, or even hung in a warm spot with air circulation. It thrives in full sun, well-drained soil and tolerates most growing conditions. Though it initially requires quite a bit of watering, it is drought resistant after a while. Lavender’s scent is also known for its relaxing effects, ideal for creating a calm working environment.

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3. Are you looking for plants that could help purify the air in your workspace?

Opt for one of the following varieties.

a) Monstera Deliciosa or ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’

Monstera Deliciosa gets its name from the typical nature of its large leaves with holes and spits in them, They lend an exotic yet cosy feel to your space. This species is known to grow large in size, therefore you could opt for this if you have large open spaces. It requires lots of indirect sunlight, thriving in an environment that is not too hot. It is easy to manage without much fuss, but does require watering often since it needs humid conditions to thrive.

b) Asplenium nidus or Bird’s Nest Fern

Asplenium nidus has pale green long leaves that have rippled edges, and these lend a particularly unique look to the plant. It purifies the air well and filters out chemicals. The plant also requires indirect light, and works well in humid locations. It requires little watering, but frequent misting of the fern. Doing so possibly a few times a week would help the plant thrive since it grows best in humid conditions.

c) Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia has large glossy dark green leaves and is good to be grown in indoor spaces since it increases the indoor oxygen levels and thus promotes a fresher, healthier environment. The plant needs very little maintenance and is ideal for office spaces where it might be difficult to take care of indoor plants. It requires indirect light and can thus be placed away from the windows.  It requires watering only every few weeks.

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4. Do you have limited space available?

Opt for vertical plants and/or hanging plants.

a) Chlorophytum Comosum or ‘Spider Plant’

Chlorophytum comosum has long leaves or ‘spiderettes’ and grows outwards. The dangling nature of the leaves makes it a vibrant and dynamic addition to the office space. This plant is known to purify air rapidly, so it is ideal for spaces used by a lot of people. It is also very easy to care for as it requires indirect sunlight. It also only needs little water, which means that this plant does not need much time devoted to its maintenance. 

b) Hedera Helix or ‘English Ivy’

Hedera Helix is an evergreen perennial plant, growing to long vertical lengths. It has evergreen leaves, appearing the same all year round. It grows in partial to full shade, thus would be perfect for corners far from windows. It needs protection from both winter winds and harsh sun. It requires less watering, but a fair amount of trimming maintenance considering it is a fast-growing species.

c) Philodendron Scandens

Apart from being able to grow in tiny vertical spaces, Philodendron scandens are also known to have air purifying properties. The vining type of Philodendron often needs a support, while the vertical type can grow directly out of a pot. It grows best near windows, usually requiring partial sunlight and moderate amount of watering.

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Philodendron-Scandens-plant

Indoor plants are the perfect addition to offices, especially in supporting your employees’ well-being and adding a bit of texture and colour to the space. Supplementing your office space in this way could provide extra encouragement when welcoming your employees back to the office. However not all plants work well in all spaces, therefore be sure to make your choices based on your specific space and the desired function you want from the plant. An effective way to do this is by comparing the benefits and attributes they each offer.

Incorporating indoor plants into your space will not only add aesthetic value but also help those who inhabit it feel better. Having indoor plants encourages creativity and promotes productivity and better-quality work from your employees (As mentioned in a study by Robertson Cooper: Human Spaces: The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, 2015)1. Plants improve the company culture and atmosphere of your office, therefore why not choose indoor plants to spruce up your office in time for your employees’ return?

 If you are considering adding indoor plants to your office space or renovating your office space all together, and would like some help to decide which plants could work best for you, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

The benefits of introducing plants into the workplace

Over the past year, Covid-19 has led many of us into a (semi-)permanent state of working from home. Now, we might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, more and more companies are starting to open up their doors to welcome employees back to the office. As people are gradually returning back to the office environment, you as an employer, could be concerned about the potential spread of the virus within the workplace. On another note, you may also be wondering about how to improve productivity and creativity in your workplace and how to reduce distractions. We are entering a crucial time of transition as employees begin to physically come together again after a significant period of confinement in their own homes.

Natural elements such as plants, water and views to nature have proved to be one of the most widely adopted ways to increase productivity and creativity in workplaces. They can also be directly linked to simply making a person feel better, giving one a feeling of being outdoors. This is especially prevalent in today’s contemporary world, where people find themselves more isolated from nature and natural settings. By incorporating these natural elements into your workplace, or mimicking them, you can increase the positive emotional experience attached to the space.

Biophilia is the hypothesis which refers to this concept, describing the innate relationship that exists between humans and nature. Well-being, productivity, creativity are all causal links to having contact with nature within your workplace, often helping employees destress, work effectively and maintain their performance.

Out of the natural elements that positively link well-being and workplace; incorporating plants into your workplace is one of the easiest and most beneficial strategies. Other effective elements also include having views of nature, introducing a water element, mimicking sounds from nature, providing accent colours in your spaces, enhancing light (see our article on improving your lighting for inspiration) and creating spacious workspaces. 

Plants are the easiest natural element to adopt in your workplace. Below we explore a few of the many impacts and benefits doing so can have on your employees.

Slachtofferhulp Offices, The Netherlands. Designed by AKKA Architects

1. Indoor plants are known to have a clear positive impact on well-being.

Studies have shown that increasing greenery and nature into your office space could increase wellbeing by 15% (As mentioned in a study by Robertson Cooper entitled Human Spaces: The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, 20151). This research also shows that visible connections to nature can have a positive effect on an individual’s reported stress levels. Other elements in the workplace might distract or disrupt your employees’ thought process, which could possibly lead to mental fatigue. Greenery on the other hand is less distracting and requires only effortless attention. Incorporating plants into the workspace can create a tranquil setting for your employees, helping them to better manage their attention.

2. Indoor plants boost productivity

Indoor plants are proven to encourage psychological engagement in the workplace, achieved through people’s visual interaction with it. Plants are also known to boost happiness and focus, in turn increasing the productivity of your employees. A view of nature – such as a large good quality photograph or a simulation (As mentioned in a book by Sue Thomas called Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace, 20132)- within their proximity can also make employees feel calmer and more relaxed. This grounds them and often heightens their focus and productivity, allowing the employees to concentrate better and feel psychologically calmer.

Plants have been proven to improve the well-being of employees, as well as boost productivity and creativity.

3. Indoor plants heighten creativity

Indoor plants improve focus which is no doubt a huge part of an individual’s creative process. Therefore there is a direct link between the presence of indoor plants in the office space and increased overall creativity of the user. Research has found that natural elements, such as daylight and indoor plants, can increase levels of creativity by up to 15%1. Having colourful and vibrant plants with unique patterns and leaves have a high chance of helping boost creativity within the office space.

4. Health benefits of indoor plants

Scientifically, having indoor plants in your office increases the amount of oxygen being released into your space and can reduce the irritability and poor health of your employees, especially if one uses specific plants that are known to purify the surrounding air. Plants also absorb sound, thus natural sounds from the city or distracting noises are bound to be reduced by the presence of plants in your office space.

As you prepare to welcome your employees back into the workplace, it might be a good time to reconsider the plants you may or may not have in the space. While deciding which plants to introduce into your workplace, you may want to take into account the placement and variety of indoor plants based on factors like level of maintenance and also the specific context of the space. For example, printer areas require a different type of plant than the lunch area. If you want to know more about specific plant selections, go to our next article called ‘Office Plants.’

Humans have always had a deep connection to nature and its elements. In the case of an already existing space, it’s not always possible to increase the amount of daylight indoors or to change the view to the outside. Introducing indoor plants provides a simple and effective solution to actually rejuvenating the space and giving life to the indoors, as well as providing several meaningful benefits to those inhabiting the given space. Plants improve the indoor working space, not only through visual connectivity, but also through smell, texture and aromas, all of which provide a very important symbolic connection to nature. Thus, introducing indoor plants would be a very effective way of creating a better connection between your employees to the outside, while at the same maintaining the new design requirements as a result of Covid-19 measures. A renewed supply of indoor plants could be the perfect way to welcome your employees back to their workspaces.

If you are considering adding indoor plants to your office space or renovating your office space all together, and would like some help to decide which plants could work best for you, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

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