Plants and flowers enhance any environment visually, softening industrial architecture with natural beauty or adding the finishing touches to a sophisticated reception area.
However, the benefits of plants go far beyond the aesthetic, they have many other positive impacts on us as humans.
- Psychological benefits such as positive effects on reducing stress and promoting health and well-being. As humans we have an innate desire to be connected to nature, also known as biophilia Our modern lifestyles and city living mean that we spend around 90% of our time indoors and we are often disconnected from nature which is not good for our health (lack of vitamin D producing sunlight, fresh air and exercise included) or for our stress levels. By adding a variety of plants and flowers into the environment we live and work in we are bringing back the links to nature that we crave.
- Increase in productivity, creativity and happiness. It is proven that a vibrant, welcoming environment has positive effects on the speed at which we work and improves mood. studies show that employees who are exposed to plants within the workplace, actively engage with their surroundings, are more productive and have a more positive outlook at work. These studies looked into ‘lean offices’ vs green offices and showed that productivity could be increased by up to 15%.
- Adding plants and flowers makes for a more welcoming and inviting environment for employees, visitors and clients.Having a space that is pleasant to be in and attractive to visitors has a positive effect on business and improves perception of a company’s green credentials. Wellbeing is now regarded by most organisations as a priority not just a trend and living their brand values helps an organisation to attract and retain talent.
- Plants can help to improve air quality and reduce allergens by cleansing the air.As shown in NASA’s Clean Air Study, plants provide a natural way of removing VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) from the air and also reduces the presence of aggravating allergens. NASA researcher suggests efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.
- Plants can help Reduce sickness and absence at work. One study by Elzeyadi at the University of Oregon found that 10% of employee absences could be attributed to architectural elements that did not connect with nature.
A recent Norwegian research study tested what happened when plants were placed into and then removed from offices. When plants were present headaches, coughs, sore throats, fatigue and dry skin all reduced. Several similar studies around the world have found similar results.