The benefits of introducing plants into the workplace

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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