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Plants in the Office: Pros & Cons

To Green or Not to Green: That is the Question ...

Moving into a new office offers many opportunities for innovation. From unique wall decor commissioned by local artists to sleek, ergonomic furniture, this is a chance to create a more inviting and visually forward-thinking workplace. 

Over the past few years, offices nationwide have been incorporating more greenery to bring a breath of fresh air and give the company a lively feeling. The options are diverse and a plant-filled workstation does look visually appealing, but what are the long and short-term benefits of having plant life infest your offices? 

THE PROS

1. Improves Health

Most people can agree that being near some vegetation, especially during a nice walk in the park, but being near plants can have more of a benefit than just lifting your spirits. According to the 2015 report from Human Spaces, they found a 15% increase in the well-being of the 7,600 office workers they surveyed. On top of that, the surveyors also found a 6% increase in overall productivity.

Some experts have made the argument that plants in the office have led to a decrease in Sick Building Syndrome. This condition manifests when an individual spends too long in a particular building and the symptoms consist of headaches, sore eyes or throat, coughing or wheezing, rashes, and more. However, there is very little evidence to support this claim.

2. Reduce Stress

Every workplace can come with its own collection of stress factors, and most good employers look for ways to minimize these stressors and improve morale. Most of you probably have looked to plants as a possible solution.

According to the University of Technology, Sydney study, researchers found that offices with plants introduced to the workplace would see a dramatic reduction in stress. Specifically, a 37% drop in anxiety, a 58% drop in depression, a 44% drop in anger, and a 38% drop in fatigue.

Researchers also claimed that even minor improvements can have monumental improvements to the mindset of the office, stating,”This study shows that just one plant per workspace can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance.”

3. Boost Creativity

As per the previously mentioned study from Human Spaces, researchers noted a 15% difference in creative scores between employees with plants in their office and employees in offices devoid of plantlife.

4. Reducing Noise

A study done by London South Bank University in 1995 noted that plants placed in key areas around an office can reduce the ‘reverberation time’ of background noise, greatly reducing distractions while working and boosting concentration.

When looking at these factors together, one can conclude an all-around improvement in productivity and morale can be achieved with the correct plants in the correct environments. 

In spite of all these pros, we must also explore the cons of having greenery in the office.

THE CONS

1. Pests

For those new to the responsibilities that come with taking care of plant life in the office, you must always be on the lookout for pests. There are ways to spot them before the infestation gets too bad and spreads, but if you don’t, you may end up having to replace your greenery.

The best way to avoid this is by monitoring the amount of water you give them and aim to not have any of them sitting in water. The excess water can attract critters such as spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and more. 

2. Maintenance

As we mentioned previously, those unfamiliar with the needs of different plants may be heading for a rude awakening when it comes time to maintain your decor. Different plants have different needs, but if you choose wisely, the frequency at which you would need to manage the foliage will be greatly decreased. 

Be sure to monitor when your plants need new soil when they drop their leaves so they can be disposed of, and when they would need to be watered to stay healthy and not attract pests.

3. Pets and Plants don’t always mix

This final point won’t apply to all offices, as most have not embraced a dog-friendly environment. If yours has, however, then be sure to check to see if your plants may be toxic if accidentally ingested by your furry friends.

There are a number of low-maintenance plants that can spruce up your office and be safe for your plants, such as Spider Plants and Orchids.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference for the employer and the employee when it comes to plants in the office. Many studies have concluded that the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to plants in the office, but it’s up to you to see how you’d want to incorporate them in your place of work. 

If you’re interested in sprucing up your office with some foliage, check out our list of top plants for your workplace. 

 

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