Office plants, why are they so important? – October 2019

There are many benefits to having plants in our office – reducing stress and sickness, increasing productivity and creativity, reducing noise and making the office more attractive, but how does this work? We did a bit of research and found out how a simple plant can do so much for our wellbeing.

Air pollution levels indoors are almost always higher than outside. The main indoor pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), from paint, carpet, furnishing and electronic equipment, and carbon dioxide. Continued exposure to these pollutants could result in drowsiness, physical irritability, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and nausea, which we do not want here at Environmental Projects!

Can plants really make a difference? The answer is yes! A 1980’s NASA study recognised that plants can reliably reduce VOC levels by up to 75% and increase oxygen to carbon dioxide levels. More recent studies have found that it isn’t actually the plant itself taking up the VOC’s, it’s the bacteria in the soil! Bacteria needs the plant to supply the soil with nutrients to sustain life, so no plant – no VOC eating bacteria. Other studies state that just having three potted plants in an average sized office will reduce VOC amounts to an extremely low level.

Even better news is that even just the sight of a plant has psychological benefits, this is where the increased mood, productivity and creativity and reduced distraction and stress comes from. Studies related these benefits to ‘biophilia’, which means just being near a plant returns us to our evolutionary beginnings in the prehistoric forest, but in a small pot plant shaped way.

This is why we have invested in creating a small jungle in our office (growing bigger every day!), as looking after our team’s health and wellbeing is a top priority.