Americans are a nation of hard workers and for most that entails spending the majority of working hours indoors. Members of the cubicle crowd often lack direct access to natural light and unwittingly endure pollutant-contaminated air that has become all too common in newer office buildings. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors.
Throughout the throes of the 40+ hour work week, the average person spends a lot of time breathing in mold, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, chemicals, formaldehyde, dust mites and even pesticides. Office plants counter the harmful effects of pollutants by offering a sustainable solution for improved indoor air quality while making workplace environments quieter, healthier and of course prettier places to be.
Nature’s natural filter
Plants naturally filter the air of harmful chemicals and other toxins. Plants in the workplace can also fight SBS (sick building syndrome), boost humidity levels which decrease cough-inducing dry air. Rooms filled with plants were shown to have 50 to 60 percent fewer molds and bacteria in the air than in rooms without any plants. Indoor plants also offer the stressed out employee a soothing and beautiful escape; the mere presence of plants harkens memories of past vacations and tropical getaways for the plant-loving employees.
Toxins, molds and bacteria are absorbed in the soil and into plant leaves. Harmful toxins are typically translocated downward into the plant’s roots and consumed as plant food or destroyed through a process known as “metabolic breakdown” as has been demonstrated in scientific studies.
Tove Fjeld, a university professor in Oslo, Norway conducted a study in which plants were shown to have improved employee health in offices, hospitals and schools. Offices containing plants demonstrated a reduction of employee ailments such as sore throat, headaches, dry skin and fatigue compared to offices without plants. The office containing plants had showed a 23% reduction in employee ailments.
Plants in the workplace reduce noise levels
Plants are often employed in cities to reduce noise near highways and the same concept can be applied to the office.. Plants in the workplace, through absorbing the noise of the work environment, provide employee a calm, distraction-free setting where they can do their best work. Indoor plants can reflect and absorb indoor office noises. A study at the South Bank University in London showed that common house and office plants could help to reduce office noise levels by as much as 5 decibels.
Beyond that, trees and plants offer numerous aesthetic advantages that often improve community well being. Who doesn’t enjoy being surrounded by beautiful things? In the hospitality industry, well-maintained interior and exterior landscaping is imperative to attracting tourists. Likewise, hospitals and healthcare facilities often use greenery to promote a sense of wellness and uplift patients.
What to do now
Hiring a respected and knowledgeable professional, such as Ambius, will guarantee that the newly chosen plants will function and thrive at an optimal levels thus creating the ideal healthy work environment while giving the employee a meditative experience.
Are you unsure of how your business would use plants indoors? Scroll through this gallery of photos.
What do you think is the greatest benefit of office plants? Share below in the comments.