5 Business Boosting Benefits of Plants in the Office

Posted by Jason Wyrwicz on Jun 15th 2020

The key to remaining competitive in business is finding new ways to incorporate ideas that benefit your company and brand. Think outside the box and you'll reap the rewards that others fail to capitalize on.

Research  from Harvard University shows that high-power offices with plants are more successful than those lacking natural elements in their design. Plants in the workplace have numerous benefits proven to enhance the performance of workspaces. But how do we take the evidence revealed by researchers and use it to develop a strategy that empowers business processes, transforms working conditions, and turbocharges office environments?

How can plants in offices benefit your business?

1. Natural Elements of Design Reduce Stress

Reception foyer of a modern office building.

In any work environment, stress plays a pivotal role in the overall health of employees. This is not just something that exists in the background. Stress has a very real and palpable presence within the structure of your business.

Study findings show us that work-related stress leads to — among other things — low levels of energy and poor personal confidence. In turn, this results in reduced productivity and increased chances of human error when completing tasks. Stress impacts the way staff make decisions, how they deal with customers, and the overall atmosphere of your business.

One of the biggest benefits of indoor plants is that office plants help to reduce stress levels. In a survey conducted by the  University of Technology in Australia, results concluded that indoor plants introduced to office spaces led to:

  • A 37% decrease in tension and anxiety 
  • A 38% reduction in fatigue 
  • A 44% decrease in anger and hostility 
  • A 58% drop in depression

The use of office plants may help staff to live healthier and happier work lives, which is a benefit for any company. They provide the same benefits of spending time outdoors, while the color green has a relaxing effect, according to the principles of color psychology.

2. Plants Increase Productivity

In business, productivity is essentially a buzzword for profitability. More productive employees pay more attention to tasks, work faster, harder, and better, and create opportunities to increase revenue. A productive workforce is always the kind of workforce you want, but great productivity is not so easy to capture.

Once you've implemented the basics to improve productivity — providing regular breaks and better equipment, and assigning the right person to the right project, etc. — there appear to be very few places left to turn to bump up those figures. One such source of increasing productivity that you may not have tried is introducing indoor plants to the work environment. As it turns out, natural elements like office plants can bolster productivity in a very meaningful and noticeable way.

According to research completed by Exeter University, adding just a few indoor plants to office space has the potential to  increase productivity by 15% while also helping with memory retention. The key to increasing productivity by adding plants is to aim for one plant per square meter, with the overall goal that each employee should be able to see a plant from their desk. This doesn't mean you need to add a plant to each desk, but there should be enough greenery in the space that it is visible from all work areas and desks.

Why does having a plant in the office increase productivity? The simple answer is that people like plants. We enjoy being among nature and are deprived of that in urban work environments. Office plants help bridge the gap lost in commercial settings, making your office feel like a place employees enjoy being in, such as a garden.

Happiness increases productivity, and plants make us happy. It's that easy.

3. Indoor Plants Help Cut Down on Sick Days

Happiness at work, however, goes far beyond simple productivity. There is no denying that happier employees tend to be healthier employees.  Academic literature has found more than one connection between mood and a disposition to both physical and mental ailments.

But what might be less obvious is that this means plants can play a crucial role in health. A biophilic design study conducted by  Human Spaces monitored 7,600 office workers in research that spanned 16 countries. The study discovered that 58% of workers had no plants in their work area. The more interesting discovery, though, was that the employees with plants in their work area achieved a 15% higher wellbeing score. These individuals were less likely to take sick days.

Similarly, research by the  Agricultural University of Norway claims that adding plants to the workspace helped to decrease illness by up to 25%, which reduced the absence rates of workers.

But are all these benefits simply to do with employees being happier?

Not exactly. While happiness is a factor in wellbeing, there are other advantages to having plants in workplaces for health and wellness.

Plants are more than a soothing design element. They are essential for healthier breathing and purifying the air. NASA scientists were among the first to highlight the way plants purify the air with their now-famous  Clean Air Study. This study found that plants were especially useful for removing potentially harmful chemicals from the air such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. The use of plants in office spaces provides cleaner air for healthier breathing. Plants also remove particles in the air that cause nasal irritation, reducing sneezing and halting the spread of germs.

And it doesn't end there. Plants can be particularly important if you have air conditioning units in your office buildings, as these so-called  incubators of bacteria and mold spores can lead to health issues and headaches, cause discomfort, and exacerbate existing conditions like allergies and asthma.

All these benefits culminate in a solution that reduces the rate of illness at work, meaning you will see fewer absences as well as the benefits to productivity, mood, and community that come from having a healthy workforce.

4. It Creates a Pleasing Environment for Job Applicants

Businesses aren't just built on their current employees. They're also built on prospects. Adding valuable members to your team can be the difference between success and failure. It might sound crazy, but plants in the office environment can be one of the driving reasons behind a candidate picking your business.

Adding some much-needed greenery to office space creates a pleasing environment for potential job applicants and encourages them to start thinking about the kind of workplace satisfaction they'll enjoy at your company. It may be subtle, but plants help inspire feelings that the company cares about creating a good work experience. Plants show engagement with office culture and wellbeing, improving the candidate's perception of your business.

While the idea of minimalist décor has been the hot trend for office spaces in the last few years, more and more companies are listening to recommendations to add some much-needed greenery to the mix. According to the research team at  Human Spaces, a third of the people surveyed in the larger biophilic design study stated that the overall workplace design would impact their decision to take a job at a company.

This figure helps us understand just how important plants are for business recruitment and the benefits of using plants in the office.

5. Plants Increase Creativity and Concentration

When workers are in a more creative and focused mindset, they can think outside the box to come up with new solutions to workplace problems.

Did you know that plants may help workers unlock their creative potential in the workplace? The previously referenced study conducted by Human Spaces also found that  employees scored 15% higher on creativity tests when plants were present in their workspace.

Why do plants have these effects on work output?

There are several theories on how plants improve creativity. The first is simple inspiration. They provide windows to the natural world and encourage freedom of thinking. Then there is the idea that plants improve air quality, enriching the environment with oxygen while removing carbon dioxide, and leading to better brain function. Plants also reduce noise, since the surfaces of foliage can soak up sound waves. High noise levels can distract from thought processes and cause concentration problems, meaning that reduced noise pollution leaves your employees with more space to think, imagine, and create.

Tips for Bringing Plants to the Workspace

So you are now fully aware of the benefits of plants in the office, but how do you take advantage of them?

  • Choose green, live plants. When adding plants to the office, the key is to focus on green, leafy plans to get the most benefit. While flowers are pretty and pleasing to the eye, most plant studies are based on leafier plants, such as ferns or even succulents. It is also important to note that while many locations opt for artificial plants, most of the benefits listed are only achieved by using real plants — and even small trees. For instance, artificial plants do not purify the air, since they do not absorb chemicals and toxins. If you want vibrant colors and smells that simple greenery does not offer, we recommend introducing plants like lavender, which offer a mix of beauty and function.
  • Use plant pots and planters to create a green world in an urban setting. The need for real carbon dioxide-absorbing plants presents a problem. If you operate in an office, planting greenery is going to be a challenge. There is no soil to work with here. But don't let this stop you. Pots and planters allow you to fill rooms with life without the need for fields or open garden spaces.
  • Choose the right size planter. When looking at planters for the office, you should keep in mind the size of the space available and the kind of plants you want. Different plants have different roots, meaning they need different depths of planter. It's no good cutting corners with your pots, as your plants won't grow properly. Likewise, it's a bad idea to select several different planters based on the greenery you want without considering space. Desire needs to meet practicality. Consider the restrictions of your building and the atmosphere you want to achieve, and be flexible with your plants. Pots, Planters & More has a diverse range of commercial planters available, allowing you to find the perfect products to match style with function.
  • Consider the planter style. Planters come in a range of styles to accommodate any décor theme. From modern approaches with sleek lines to bright pops of color for a lively space, there is a planter style for any preference and décor scheme. Make sure your plants look like they belong and aren't out of place.

Ready to experience the powerful benefits of plants in the office? Get great prices on planters to make the dream a reality with our wholesale planter program.