Plants are essential to life on earth and are especially important to humans. They provide shade and nourishment, and they go into making fuel, clothing and shelter. They brighten homes and gardens and delight people with their colors and form. Plants also have psychological benefits, lifting people's moods and general well-being. It is no surprise that plants improve the creativity, focus, motivation and health of employees in the workplace, as well.
Reduce Stress and Improve Productivity
Plants reduce stress. This is particularly true in demanding workplaces and those without windows and views of natural landscapes. Being in a workplace with plants improves mood and performance, according to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. Sometimes, it takes no more than a glance at a plant’s comforting form to calm a worker's nerves. Plants improve productivity. Research at Washington State University revealed that employees were 12 percent more productive at timed computer tasks when they worked in rooms with plants compared to rooms without them.
Improve Workplace Aesthetics
Indoor plants pretty-up drab workplaces. They add accent colors and bring otherwise ignored corners to life. Plants with bold, bright flowers increase contrast and have a high visual impact. Those with plainer colors and prostrate forms bring on a more calming effect. Potted and hanging plants with artistically crafted pots also add to a room's decor.
Plants remove noxious and unpleasant odors. They serve as living air purifiers by absorbing and masking unpleasant workplace smells. Popular fragrant plant types that infuse workplaces with pleasing scents include gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), string-of-beads (Senecio rowleyanus), wax plant (Hoya), hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) and pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum).
Plants have several physiological benefits. They remove harmful toxins, airborne bacteria and volatile organic compounds, and thus improve air quality. They also absorb carbon dioxide -- high levels of which cause drowsiness --allowing workers to concentrate better. The presence of plants also reduces dry throats, fatigue, dry skin, coughs and headaches among workers. The best air-purifying indoor plants for workplaces include the Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa), Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii), waxy leaved plant (Hoya carnosa), rubber plant (Ficus robusta), English ivy (Hedera helix), ficus alii (or Ficus macleilandii), Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) and the peace lilly (Spathiphyllum sp.).
- Daily Mail: Stressed at Work? Put Pot Plants on Your Desk
- "Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture"; Sally Augustin
- Momtastic: 10 Air Purifying Plants for Homes and Offices
- Utah State University Extension: Indoor Plants: Nature's Air Freshners
- Telegraph: Indoor Plants Could Save Your Life
- "The Psychology of Environmental Problems"; Susan M. Koger and Deborah Du Nann Winter
- Better Homes and Gardens: 24 of the Easiest Houseplants You Can Grow
- Phys.org: New Device Monitors Schoolroom Air for Carbon Dioxide Levels that May Make Kids Drowsy
- University of Florida: Landscape Design - Aesthetic Charactertics of Plants
- Texas A&M University: Health and Well Being Benefits of Plants
Natasha Gilani has been a writer since 2004, with work appearing in various online publications. She is also a member of the Canadian Writers Association. Gilani holds a Master of Business Administration in finance and an honors Bachelor of Science in information technology from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan.