We’re all aware of the benefits plants can have on us and our homes – they’re uplifting, aesthetically-pleasing and mood-boosting, to name a few – so it only makes sense to bring them into our working spaces, too.
Whether you head to an office, a shop, a restaurant or your spare bedroom, the right plants can transform wherever you spend your working day and have a huge positive impact on the behaviour of you, your staff or your clients and customers.
You might have heard of biophilic design – in its simplest form it means bringing the outside in. Cottoning on to the powerful impact plants have on our wellbeing and behaviour, biophilic design has become a buzzword concept in interior design in recent years, and for good reason. The word ‘biophilia’ literally means ‘love of nature’ and biophilic design explores our innate attraction to the natural world. Essentially, it’s about connecting people and nature – and it can boost your health, wellbeing and even wealth in the process.
“There is no question that living and working in a green environment has a positive effect on our general health and wellbeing,” says biophilic designer, Marianna Popejoy (thewoodenhill.blog). “Office environments that have incorporated plants into their work spaces have seen a noticeable decrease in absence due to illness, and even an increase in productivity.”
You read that correctly – you can beat procrastination with a plant! Adding greenery to your work space can increase productivity and creativity. This is because plants are proven to enhance focus – impressively, studies have shown that attentiveness is increased by 70 per cent when they are present in a room. Plants are also praised for their mood-boosting abilities. Research shows that employees who work in the presence of greenery tend to feel happier about their jobs, worry less, and even take fewer sick days (webmd.com).
Applying the principles of biophilic design to your work environment (i.e. adding more plants) can also produce a calming effect on employees. A Japanese study suggested that merely looking at a plant is enough to improve mental health at work (hriherbalmedicine.co.uk). Further serene benefits include lower blood pressure and heart rate and a reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Bringing the outside in to a commercial working space can bring huge benefits, too. Studies found that people find environments with plants in less stressful, and rate shop comfort and product quality higher in stores with plants in. The Journal of Forestry found that shoppers spent up to 12% more on goods and services when around plants – having plants in your store can actually make you money! And if hospitality is your game, adding plants and flowers to the table puts diners in a more relaxed mood, meaning they enjoy their meals more (Wageningen University). Consumers are also more likely to travel further and stay longer in a retail or hospitality setting where plants are present – that’s food for thought!
So, where to begin? “A simple way to give the impression of being surrounded by plants and foliage, without having to break the bank and invest in a living wall, is to ensure that you can see plants at every level, from the ground up,” advises Mariana. She recommends placing some plants on the floor (at base level), adding a couple on a side table or shelves, and then hanging one or two from the ceiling so that you can always see them in your line of sight, regardless of whether you’re standing or seated. “This will draw the eyes around the room to the various splashes of greenery, and create the feeling of being immersed in nature,” says Marianna.
3 plants to add to your business today
This plant is as close as you’ll get to growing money on trees – the Money Tree is considered a symbol of luck, prosperity and positive energy – with the good luck said to be interwoven in the twisted trunks. It’s perfect for adding height and interest to any working space.
It’s easy to see why the Snake Plant is so popular – it’s incredibly easy to care for and NASA rates it as one of the best plants for improving air quality, removing toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia and carbon monoxide from the air. If your working space doesn’t have much natural light, don’t worry, as the Snake Plant will survive.
The Peace Lily is the perfect deskside de-stresser. It is known for its calming properties, as the name would suggest, and according to the Chinese art of Feng Shui, it can also cleanse the energy of a room. Add in its incredible air-purifying qualities and you’ve got the dream office plant.
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