Potted plants improve office workers' health | Telegraph
Potted plants in offices can improve the health of stressed-out workers and reduce the number of sick days they take, a study suggests. Click Here to Read More
Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway surveyThe Air We Breathe 1 Jan 2007
A professor at the Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway, conducted a two year study in an office and found that the following reduction in ailments occurred once plants were introduced: Fatigue – reduced by 20%, headache – reduced by 45%, sore/dry throat – reduced by 30%, coughs – reduced by 40%.
Worldwide research shows us that people respond in a positive manner to a welcoming and attractive work environment, but now we know that plants actually promote not only a sense of well-being but actually are scientifically beneficial.
Everyone learns at school that plants clean the air we breathe. Now scientists are working to prove that plants can alleviate the modern day phenomena of Sick Building Syndrome. This illness develops into a serious and expensive liability for employers when toxins found in fibres (carpets, wall coverings, fabrics for example) and solvents (paints, varnishes, furniture treatments) become concentrated inside airless buildings which become breeding grounds for bacteria, causing respiratory problems as well as allergies and viruses. Not a very nice thought, but we can take comfort in the fact that nature can help us overcome this new workplace malady.
This research appears to indicate that employers can aid their workers’ health and also create a more productive workplace by using plants to keep the atmosphere healthy. Plants not only control the toxin levels in the air but also the humidity. Interior plants are vital to maintaining the approved human comfort range for relative humidity in an office. Humidity plays an important role in employee health. There has been much research undertaken to reach the conclusion that plants hold the key to stabilizing office environments. If such a large body of research didn’t exist we would probably not believe that a solution as simple and economical as interior plants could rectify a problem as threatening and expensive as poor indoor air quality.
As long as ago as ten years ago research was being undertaken into the positive psychological effects of plants in the workplace. It is believed that plants can reduce stress, probably because they make an environment pleasing to see and therefore we relax. We react to our surroundings and whilst we may find a jungle of plants unsettling, well-chosen and carefully maintained plants do have the "feel good" factor. (If plants are not properly cared for they can turn into a health hazard, producing mould which can irritate asthma, cause headaches and affect concentration).
Research to date shows that there are positive benefits in using plants to enhance working environments (and these include shops, restaurants, cafés, medical institutions and schools – in fact, wherever people congregate). Those who already use plants in the workplace understand that they have invested in their business – their premises look attractive to visitors, clients and staff and has a healthy environment for all to enjoy. For those who are reluctant to spend money on plants, the time may have come to look on the cost of installing plants in the workplace as an investment as opposed to an unnecessary expenditure. Green plants humanize our workplaces, make us feel happy and increase our sense of wellbeing – all of which results in happier staff and therefore a more profitable workforce.