"In environments with a strongly biophilic design, biophilia meaning love of nature, employees report a 15 percent higher level of wellbeing and are 6 percent more productive."
Jo Horbury, Head of Design at Building Interiors
Investing in some greenery is a simple and often overlooked design technique that can breathe new life into an office space. It’s not just the aesthetic difference they make - bringing nature indoors (so called ‘biophilic design’) has huge positive impacts on office employees.
Just three of many benefits to having plants in an office include:
Though the ‘lean’ office approach had been touted as the best way to productively manage both budgets and people, there is no real proof for improved productivity or positivity in lean environments (those stripped of plants, personal effects, food etc). This 2010 study compared ‘lean’ and ‘green’ spaces, and found that enriched, green spaces create superior levels of organisational identification, well-being, and productivity (ranging from attention to detail to information processing and management). The effect was heightened when employees themselves were allowed a hand in the design.
Boosted happiness, boosted returns
In environments with a strongly ‘biophilic’ design (biophilia meaning love of nature), employees report a 15% higher level of wellbeing, are 6% more productive and 15% more creative, according to this Human Spaces report. Research has also shown that green-forward, biophilic offices tend to reduce staff illness, reduce workplace absenteeism and improve staff retention.
You thought you were most exposed to pollution during your commute, right? Actually, it turns out that air pollution is almost always worse inside (even in traffic-heavy cities!). This EPA report from 2018 suggests that levels of some air pollutants can be 2-5 times higher indoors.
Ok, so air cleansing through plants is actually less achievable than it sounds. It’s much quicker to use mechanical air filtration than to rely on plant matter to clean up your air, but plants do release oxygen in the daytime through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis will better the oxygen to carbon dioxide ratio in any office so having a few plants around is never a bad thing.
The Best Plants for Your Office: Some of Our Favourites at Building Interiors
African Violets are cheerful little plants with bright, smiling faces. They’re decidedly 70s, but in a good way! They do need light but aren’t fussy about where it comes from – your fluorescent desk lamp will do! They take up only a tiny amount of space, so there’s room on every desk for an African Violet.
Air Plants are a great way to bring green into a design – think of using a tiny terrarium on the desk, for example. They allow for more stylish touches, whilst maintaining the positive effects of biophilic design. They don’t even need soil, just dunk them in water once a week. Clean, tidy – perfect for your desk.
Ivy has beautiful leaves and an organic, flowing shape which really brings the outdoors in, softening the hard angles of an office environment. There are many different varieties of Ivy and choosing a variegated colour or leaf shape can make the plant seem very special indeed. Ivy needs medium light, and average water – overall, it’s a pretty easy-going character. If you keep it happy it will trail, which can lead to a gorgeously festooned table leg or shelf!
If you’re not into the kitsch classics, why not go for the gentle fronds and organic shapes of an Asparagus Fern? They love dappled shade, so being a little further from the window isn’t a problem, though they do like it humid, so if your office often feels dry, water them by regularly misting the air around them.
A biophilic, plant-led design is something for every office owner to consider – whether as a low-cost pick-me-up solution or as part of a grand-scale office redesign. Why not add some greenery to your office today?
More information can be found here: https://www.buildinginteriorsgroup.co.uk/knowledge-and-news/choosing-plants-for-your-office/