It has been proven that bringing the outside in and creating a greener work place can make employees more productive. Did you know that adding a few plants around the office can also help to relieve tension and anxiety?
Have you recently been hearing about Biophilic Office Design? Over the last few years this term has become increasingly popular. So, what is it? The word biophilic means ‘love of nature. So, in a nutshell, Biophilic Office Design is basically bringing the outside environment into our workplaces. It’s bonding with nature and incorporating natural elements into office spaces. As well as being visually appealing, biophilic design has been proved to have a positive effect on employees.
Studies have shown that spending a lot of time working inside can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. In the workplace, employees can lose focus, have low energy and higher stress levels when spending prolonged periods of time away from the natural world.
So, bringing the outside in and creating a greener workplace can make employees more productive by lowering blood pressure, boosting mood and improving cognitive function. And did you know that adding a few plants around the office can also help to relieve tension and anxiety?
Having healthy, happy employees can of course in turn then benefit the business!
Plants Are Good For The Office
Sure, artificial plants are an option but there are many benefits of having a natural plant or two close by. Plants provide life, warmth, colour and health benefits to your office space as well as helping with noise reduction. They absorb sound so if you have a noisy office environment then the more plants the better. Having a few plants dotted around will also improve air quality and help to remove impurities. Having a greener work place is a win win situation.
If you are anything like me, then keeping plants alive can be a tricky job despite lots of effort. But there are a number of plants that are easy to maintain and thrive with little water and limited or artificial light.
Here are a few suggestions for which plants would be good choices for the workplace.
Also known as Mother-in-laws Tongue, this is a very easy plant to care for as it has the ability to withstand most conditions and can last for years. It is a tall, linear plant with stiff upright leaves that are green and white with a tinge of yellow on the edges. If watered adequately the plant can produce flowers annually on thin stems.
Crotons come in a large variety of bright foliage. It is a large plant with thick stems that branch out into large colourful leaves. They are easy to grow and succeed extremely well as an indoor plant. Place in warmer, humid areas such as a south-facing window and water regularly.
Smalll Cacti can tolerate being neglected by having little water and lots of light. Bowls of mixed cacti can produce interesting and decorative centrepieces for office boardrooms or reception areas. They are perfect for a busy workplace.
Amaryllis plants are among the easiest flowering bulbs to grow in any indoor space and produce the most beautiful blooms in many different colours.
The Amaryllis generally produces it’s big, elegant lily-shaped flower on a tall stem during the cooler months and will rebloom year after year. Colours can vary between white, yellow, pink, orange and various shades of red.
Bromeliads are easy to grow, hardy indoor plants and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and foliage colours. Tolerant of artificial light and a little neglect.
They will only produce one beautiful and dramatic bloom in its life time, which can be one of a wide variety of colours from yellows to deep burgundies. They enjoy warmth and humidity, but also require good air movement.
These plants are used extensively in receptions and offices because they add colour and vibrancy. The frequency of watering will depend on the office climate as the Bromeliad needs extra care during hot conditions.
This plant will add a bit of the tropics to your office space with its large leafy foliage and pale white blooms. The peace lily is an excellent indoor plant that can tolerate low light and air conditioning. Plenty of water will encourage blooms.
These are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. They can tolerate mild neglect and minimal light.
Spider plants have spiky light green and white foliage and look beautiful in an area where the stems are able to cascade over an edge.
A large floor plant which not only looks stunning but has great detoxifying properties. It is said that this plant filters the air of formaldehyde and benzene which are pollutants found in furniture and carpets.
This is another floor plant and it can do well in most offices. There are quite a few varieties, so it is important to choose the right one for indoors. They are capable of surviving in dimly lit areas and have the ability to help reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that pollute indoor office environments.
Also a floor plant, can work well in the work space as it actually grows best under fluorescent lighting. It can also be called the mosaic plant because of its decorative leaves. The fittonia can be a nice focal point in your offices.
A Little Care Goes A Long Way
Whilst most of these suggested plants require little maintenance, it is important to remember to water them regularly and place them accordingly. For example, plants that require some sunlight are placed near a window, or plants requiring a cooler and less lit environment are near some air conditioning and away from windows.
A space full of dead plants won’t look the best and certainly won’t provide any benefits for staff morale or their health. A little thought and TLC can help everyone enjoy the benefits and advantages of a greener work place. Enjoy!
Aside from plants, there are other ways you can incorporate the outdoors inside your office space. Plenty of natural light is important so install skylights if required and remove window dressings as much as possible. Consider using natural materials in your space, such as stone and wood or anything else that mimics the natural elements and textures of the outdoors.
If you have a suitable spot maybe add a water feature? It can be a small and simple addition such as a desk top fountain or an interesting aquarium. The sound of running water can induce relaxation and reduce stress.
Use various soft, soothing colours alluding to the outside to create a calm environment. Be warned that bright colours in large amounts are best avoided as they can create disruption and heightened energy levels. Adding the odd pop of colour here and there can’t hurt though and will also keep things interesting.
Creating a ‘break out’ area with plenty of outdoor elements and natural colours can beneficial. Employees can gather here for some time out, eat their lunch or a grab quick coffee. A good tip here is to never underestimate the importance of a good coffee machine!
Some offices may find themselves not wanting to connect with the immediate outside as there may be brick walls, busy roads or ugly power lines in sight. In these instances, you can bring the outside in by using light filtering decals or translucent screens. Cover those not so appealing views with images of some beautiful countryside or calming beaches.
Whichever ways you choose to incorporate the outside into your office space they will be sure to provide positive benefits to staff moral as well as the business in general.