Benefits of Plants
Psychological Benefit of Plants
Decreased Stress & Anxiety
Stress and Anxiety are thought to be responsible for half of the UK’s lost working days, costing employers £45 billion annually. Luckily, plants can help – a study in Japan conducted over four weeks found that around 27% of participants experienced a significant drop in pulse rate (a strong indicator of levels of stress and anxiety) when office plants were introduced to their workspace.
Additionally, the majority of respondents also self-reported lower levels of stress and anxiety after the plants were introduced.
Researchers at Chungnam National University in Korea produced similar findings, hypothesising that plants help suppress the sympathetic nervous system, reducing psychological stress.
A recent study by the University of Exeter showed that employees were up to 38% more productive when plants were introduced into their workspace. It has been suggested that improved employee productivity and attention can be attributed to the air-purifying qualities of plants in the workplace as improved air quality can lead to a reduction in symptoms of various allergies, irritations, hypersensitivity, asthma, drowsiness, and eye problems, while also improving mood.
Plants can also boost creativity. A study covering 16 countries and 7,600 office workers found that employees whose offices included natural elements consistently scored 15% higher for creativity when tested against those whose offices didn’t contain any natural elements.
Attention restoration theory developed by researchers Rachel and Stephen Kaplan proposes that spending time in nature or even looking at images of nature can have a powerful effect in reducing mental fatigue and restoring mental focus, which leads to increased creativity.
It can be hard to believe that plants can help boost memory, however a 2012 Study from Michigan found that participants performed 20% better on a working memory test when they were exposed to plants during the test.
Physiological Benefit of Plants
Improved Air Quality
The Lancet medical journal found that around 800,000 people die annually due to poor air quality in the workplace. With this in mind, poor air quality is not something that we can continue to ignore.
Luckily, NASA have outlined a very simple solution. Results from a study they conducted showed that a range of common indoor plants were incredibly effective at purifying the air and removing dangerous pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
Additionally, a study into ‘sick building syndrome’, conducted over the span of 20 years, showed that rooms filled with plants had 50-60 percent fewer toxins, moulds and bacteria in the air, significantly boosting employee health and well-being.
Reduced Noise Pollution
A study conducted by London Southbank University found that positioning large plant pots in the corners of rooms can help increase the rate of sound absorption drastically. Beyond the tactical placement of common potted plants, green and living walls can also be utilised to refract sound and reduce noise pollution in your workspace.
Better Temperature Regulation
Plants help to improve the thermal comfort of your office by increasing humidity – although this doesn’t directly raise the room temperature (known as absolute temperature), it will affect your employees’ body temperatures – known as relative temperature.
The way the increased humidity from plants does this is by reducing the amount of perspiration that evaporates from the skin, increasing the core temperature of your employees and allowing them to maintain a comfortable temperature while you reduce the room temperature and subsequently your heating bill.