Lean vs Green: Why Your Office Needs Plants

Posted by Jason Wyrwicz on Oct 21st 2022

It is undeniable that all humans desire to connect with nature. Scientists call this phenomenon 'biophilia', and unfortunately for the offices we occupy, many are bereft of natural elements that have numerous psychological and health benefits.

Designing your office using biophilic methods encourages the incorporation of the outdoors. It evokes the idea that contact and exposure to nature is a basic human need, not just something that is aesthetically pleasing.

An estimated 90% of Americans spend their time indoors, away from the sun's warmth and distanced from parks and other green recreational areas. Incorporating plant life in the office will allow staff to enjoy nature's beauty. The office cubicle alienates us from office plants' psychological and health benefits.

In this article, we discuss why potted plants in the office improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and enhance the overall well-being of employees and visitors.

Help Reduce Stress

Those involved in the psychology of color theory claim that green has a relaxing effect, calming occupants and allowing them to thrive without sweating the small stuff. Even when no holidays are on the horizon and the weather is taking a turn for the worst, plants can give us a feeling similar to being on vacation. Conversely, sterile environments are stress-inducing and give humans a sense of being hemmed in, which can, in turn, have mental health ramifications.

This theory is supported by empirical evidence as well. A study by Washington State conducted a study on the effect of stress levels on office workers and found that participants' blood pressure levels were lower when plants were present in the room. Study participants also reported feeling more engaged, happier, and alert.

Some participants were also asked to care for their own potted plant so researchers could measure the difference between their work tasks and caring for their new green office mate. Interestingly, the computer task caused a significant heart rate and blood pressure spike, even though many participants were young men well-accustomed to computerized work.

Plants Increase Productivity

It is not a long bow to draw to assume reduced stress directly correlates to increased productivity. In a separate study at the University of Exeter, researchers found that employee productivity climbed by up to 15% when plants when present compared to previously ‘lean’ environments. Adding just a single planter or pot per square meter improved employee retention, productivity, and the ability to score higher in memory-based tests.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that increased productivity translates to profitability. Having an engaged workforce inspired by their surroundings encourages employees to take the initiative and add cultural and financial value.

Decreases in sickness in employees

Yet another study in Norway was responsible for discovering that the introduction of plants into an indoor workplace positively affected the overall well-being of employees. Subjects reported a 25 percent decrease in symptoms of ill health, a decrease in fatigue, and fewer irritation conditions related to the skin, nose, and eyes.

The most apparent result of improved health is the reduction in the number of sick days employees take every year. As plants naturally filter out toxins in the air and perfume the room, areas with poor ventilation are subsequently improved. ‘Sick building syndrome’ is real, and occupants will often complain that if a colleague is sick, they are more likely to contract something as well.

Plants make the air cleaner

While the jury is still out on this one when it comes to indoor plants, it is a known fact that our green friends absorb carbon dioxide and more harmful chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. In high concentrations, these pollutants can cause dizziness, headaches, nose, mouth, and throat irritation, as well as liver and kidney damage. Plants also stabilize humidity levels, so adding plants into the mix can be a good option if your building does not have air conditioning.

Perhaps what is more critical regarding air quality is the perception. Employees will likely feel happier, more energized and distanced from exterior pollutants if a room is abundant with planters and pots filled with trees, plants, and succulents.

Plants are visually appealing to potential clients and employees

While we have discussed why plants are positive additions due to their positive effect on mental health, physical well-being, overall productivity, and air quality, we have missed out on one crucial thing. Aesthetics!Plants look great. They are inviting and add zest to a room that might otherwise be a white, sanitized space with drab walls. Visually meditative by nature, plants bring different shades of color to a room, giving potential clients and customers a better overall experience. In a world where brand image is essential, the little things can mean the difference between outdoing your competitors or losing a sale.

At Pots, Planters, and More, we offer a range of great containers in various shades that are pleasing to the eye and practical. The winning combination of a fantastic planter with the right tree or plant species can evoke positive vibes upon meeting a big client. We supply a range of products to top businesses, from restaurants to hotels and tech companies like Google. In every one of these locations, the plants give an air of comfort.