According to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Americans work nearly 1,800 hours each year. Americans spend more time in the office than most other industrialized countries.
A well-designed office can go a long way towards boosting morale, improving productivity, and humanizing the office. In particular, plants can make indoor settings feel green and environmentally-friendly.
Here are three benefits of having shrubbery in your cubicle, conference room, receptionist area, and other work areas.
A leafy environment lets workers feel more comfortable at work, which can lead to better business results. A 2013 study by scientists at the University of Exeter concluded that plants aid concentration, increase productivity and improve employees’ wellbeing by 47 percent.
The researchers compared output in different industries, and found that plants inside the office help improve business performance. Better concentration is a significant advantage in the marketplace because the office is full of distractions that divert workers from doing their jobs — such as Web surfing, chatting, and social media.
Plants can improve psychological comfort, increase morale, and reduce stress. It’s no accident that most executives prefer the corner office with a window view of trees and outdoor landscape.
Ruth K. Raanaas of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences collaborated on a 2013 study that found office plants to be a cost-effective way of keeping workers satisfied and focused. “Most people spend a large proportion of their life at work,” Raanaas tells Fast Company. “So even small effects may have great practical significance when aggregated over employees and time of employment.”
In separate research, Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University conducted a study where participants were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an environment with no plants.
Put simply, natural décor gives us comfort.
Improve Air Quality
Finally, plants improve air quality and humidity indoors. Too often, large buildings have central A/C and heater systems which contain dirty filters and pathways. Poor air quality can lead to sickness.
“Sick Building Syndrome” refers to high amounts of toxins inside sealed buildings that can threaten the health of its occupants. Thus, offices that have minimal intake of fresh outdoor air can lead to dimished health for its employees.
Indoor trees don’t have to represent a fire hazard at the office. For instance, these artificial palm trees can be coated with fire-resistant materials to comply with local building codes.
In addition to air quality, plants and indoor trees can serve as natural coolers inside a building.
“Plants cool by the process of ‘transpiration’, releasing moisture into the air,” according to Dr. Leonard Perry of the University of Vermont. “A USDA estimate is that proper use of plants could decrease air temperature in an office by as much as ten degrees. Plus, the moisture released by these plants helps maintain indoor humidity in the human comfort zone of 30 to 60 percent.”
Check out Marv Dumon’s home improvement blog on Examiner.com.