Why Indoor Office Plants Are Healthy
If the office is relatively sterile and enclosed space, with an artificial climate, with few or no windows and walls, it can become quite depressing. A worker can enliven his or her workspace by adding indoor office plants.
Most people spend considerable time in the office, often around 30% of the day or even more. Offices are generally functional spaces that may be fancy or utilitarian. Whether you have a small desk or a cubicle or a room, you can brighten up space when you make it more welcoming by adding one or more indoor plants. You can get a variety of green plants or even add a spot of color by buying plants with colored flowers.
Unlike cut flowers that are dead, plants are living so last a long time. They also help bring a touch of the outdoors inside and give a focal point of interest. If you get plants that can last practically forever with a little care and maintenance you will find that having plants around you are beneficial in many ways.
Indoor Office Plants Contribute to Health
You may well wonder how something so small has positive effects on the workplace and environment and your health. However, studies have shown that indoor office plants contribute to the physical, mental and emotional health of workers. Plants can also
- Help reduce stress
- Result in greater productivity
- Reduce absenteeism
- Decrease sick days taken off
- Help clean the air thanks to the oxygen given out
- Reduce noise levels as they absorb sound
- Improve Mood
- Give you something to look at and give your eyes a rest from screen time
- Boost the ambiance of the office
- Add a decorative element
When you are more creative and productive you also improve your self-esteem. With all the health benefits that indoor office plants offer you should invest in one or more plants in your office.
Adding plants to the office also brings nature in and helps foster a greater connection with nature in the urban landscape and in an enclosed and largely artificial environment.
Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality
When you are in an enclosed environment for a greater part of the day, you are subjected to closed air that is circulated and re-circulated. When the air conditioner is on or the heater is (depending on the weather) the air that you breathe in may be full of germs, pollutants and higher levels of carbon dioxide. In such conditions, you are more susceptible to various airborne diseases including coughs, colds, and flu, particularly if you have a lowered immunity.
Indoor plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air, making the air more oxygen-rich. Some plants also absorb dangerous chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene that may be present in the environment. Common office supplies like printers can also release toxic substances into the air. Studies have shown that indoor plants make air easier and healthier to breathe.
How Do Indoor Plants Boost Productivity and Creativity
In countries that have offices with little or no natural light and no plants (like the US, Canada, Australia) the stress levels of office workers are quite high. Conversely, in countries like India and Indonesia that have offices with more natural light and plants, the stress levels of office workers is greatly reduced. Thus, indoor office plants help reduce stress levels.
Indoor plants bring the outdoors indoors. When you go outdoors, particularly to gardens and parks, your eyes benefit by looking into the far distance and green is a restful color for the eyes. In the office, when you look at plants your eyes get some of the same benefits – looking into some distance and the color green. It also helps your brain connect with nature.
This helps relax your eyes and your brain. This, in turn, helps boost productivity and creativity by reducing stress levels. Evidence based studies have shown that plants help with attention restoration, enabling you to work more efficiently.
Don’t Indoor Plants Require Care?
If you are still not tempted to buy or get an indoor plant and think it may require more care than it is worth and you don’t have the time or the inclination you do have some alternatives. You can get plants that require minimal care. Don’t forget that taking care of even a small plant can be a relaxing activity and take not more than a few minutes.
The main ingredients that a plant needs are soil, water, and light. If you are buying ready potted or other indoor plants you are assured of the soil quality. Some plants do not even require soil if they are aquatic or air plants. This leaves the water and light. Make sure that the plant gets the light it needs. There are many office plants that thrive well even in indoor light. Some plants may need occasional exposure to sunlight.
As for watering, most plants do not need to be watered daily. The amount and frequency of water needed depend on the kind of plant and the size as well. Small plants can be taken to the sink and watered and even the leaves rinsed off. Water should reach the soil, enough to make it wet. Many hardy plants actually need very little care.
Additionally, some plants may need regular pruning – similar to getting a haircut. You need to remove dead leaves and leaves that have grown too big so that new growth is encouraged. If you are in a large office with lots of plants and perhaps window boxes or a vertical green wall you may hire the services of an expert who will come in to look after the plants.
Which Plants are Good for Offices?
You can buy small indoor plants or even bonsais for your office desk. These may be in glass or ceramic pots or saucers that are only a few inches big. Or you may want larger plants that are used as separation devices among offices. The popular Chinese bamboos and even money plant help create a positive environment thanks to their Feng Shui elements, as long as they are correctly placed.
While almost all plants add a green element to the otherwise drab office space, you can also use low care flowering plants for a splash of color and brightness. This help uplifts the spirit as well. Colorful bonsai plants can also do the trick.
Which are the Popular Indoor Office Plants?
When you have decided on buying a plant for your office, you can choose from something big that goes on the floor or something small that goes on your desk. You also have a check on how much care it will need and whether or not it will thrive in your office light. Among the many indoor office plants you can choose from are:
- Pothos – bright green leaves with some yellow in them provide a focal point in an office. They are easy to care for and require very little maintenance. It may need to be trimmed from time to time.
- Aloe – this one is for offices that get some sun. It is an attractive plant and cleans out formaldehyde and benzene from the air. The plants are hardy and you can also cut the stem and use the aloe as a moisturizer and for its anti-bacterial properties.
- Lemon Balm – this plant is small and pretty and gives off a wonderful fragrance as well. The plant is hardy and does well in the sun and in the shade.
- Gerber Daisy – if you are looking for colorful flowers then this is the plant to buy. These are available in a range of different colors and are easy to grow. You do need to put them in the sunlight occasionally. They help remove benzene from the air.
- Lucky Bamboo – these green bamboos are usually available in a bunch in a glass saucer or somewhat deeper container. They only need to be watered once in a while and you may prune them occasionally as they grow. They are considered lucky according to Chinese philosophy.
- Cactus – available in many different varieties (more than 2,000 varieties are available), a cactus plant is hardy and easy to take care of. You can choose one depending on the visual appeal and size.
- Ferns – these are very pretty and available in a large variety. The feathery leaves provide an attractive decorative element. Boston ferns and lady hair ferns are only two of the varieties available.
- Philodendrons – very commonly found in offices, these plants have a tendency to grow and do well on a trellis or shelf. As such, they do not do well on a desk. However, they are hardy, require little care and minimal watering. They are also healthier as the heart-shaped leaves help remove formaldehyde from the air.
- Peace Lilies – not lilies, these are just plants with leaves. They need watering only once a week and thrive in indoor artificial light, so are great in an enclosed environment.
- Jade Plants – these are lucky plants according to the Chinese. They are hardy with plump leaves and require very little care. As the pot is usually visible, it should be a decorative one.
- Oxalis – the plant has pretty leaves of different colors including purple. It is likely that after some time you may be able to see white or pink flowers, making this plant even more attractive.
- Chinese Evergreen – with white and green leaves, this plant is hardy and thrives even in a low light environment. It may also occasionally give flowers, making it even more striking.
- Air plants – these grow without soil and can be placed on driftwood, rocks and even glass jars. Soak these in water every fortnight or week (depending on the weather), but allow the plant to dry completely before putting it back otherwise you risk mold formation.
- Snake Plant – this plant can grow quite rapidly and is ideal for the windowsill or if you want to demarcate office space. It has mottled dark green long leafy stem. It helps to purify the air by filtering toxins and increasing oxygen levels. Don’t over water these plants.
- Fittonia – this plant has very attractive flat and big green leaves with white veins. It is pretty to look at and grows well even under indoor lighting.
While you can always visit a nursery to buy your plants, you may also be able to get them at your local supermarket or an open farmer’s market. If you don’t have time, you can even order indoor office plants online from a variety of sites, including Amazon that offers delivery.
Before Buying Indoor Plants
Make sure that you have the space to keep a plant and buy one according to your needs. It is important that the plant be visible and you have the place on your desk or a shelf to keep the plant. Ensure that when you water the plant there is a saucer under the plant to catch any extra water. Keep the plant in a place where it is not likely to get knocked down.
Even a single plant in your work area can help you a great deal and has many health benefits. You have something apart from your work to look at and look forward to as you see the plant growing. Spending even a short time every week to look after your plant can be relaxing and take you away from stressful activities. Once you get adept at looking after low maintenance plants you may even decide to get something that requires more work.
When having indoor plants in the office offer so many benefits, you should get one or more. The office environment will become less sterile and have more life. With increased productivity, greater creativity, better air quality, improved mood, fewer sick days and a host of health and financial benefits, it makes sense to make the office a greener space.