Hive Health Media

Don’t Be-Leaf Me? 5 Health Benefits of Office Plants

I bet most of us, at some point in our lives, have had an office job. If we haven’t then we probably know somebody who has.

It’s one of the most ubiquitous vocations on the planet. In the UK alone, approximately 25% of the employed workforce falls under the category of office worker. On average, the humble office worker clocks up 43 hours a week.

So it makes sense that if you’re going to be sat at a desk all day, surrounded by an eclectic crew of colleagues, that your employers do all they can to ensure your working day is a pleasant one.

This is where the humble plant comes in – and it’s more versatile than you might think. Pretty to look at, yes. Aesthetically positioned, definitely.  But I bet you didn’t realise it serves a multitude of other office and health-based functions as well. You didn’t? Well let me enlighten you.

It’s well known that plants produce oxygen, which helps to keep people alert, but plants possess a few lesser known positive attributes as well. Here are five office plant benefits.

 office-plant-desk

Reduce Stress 

Despite what the naysayers might jibe, office work can be a stressful environment. Relentless phone calls, emails, letters, meetings and a slew of distractions can often accumulate, testing your patience and raising stress levels.

Studies have shown that plants can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and enhance productivity by up to 12%. Plants placed within the peripheral vision of employee’s workstations have been shown to have a calming presence.

Improve Your Mood

Let’s face it, offices can often be dull, soulless, utilitarian spaces. A new jar of coffee can be a hot topic of vivifying discussion. Plants, then, are not only physically and mentally beneficial, but also aesthetically beneficial.  If your workplace looks nice and feels comfortable, it boosts your mood a few notches; there’s nothing worse than ploughing through a mountain of work on a downer.

Reduce Noise

Several studies have proven that plants placed around the office act as a kind of aural cushion and can absorb up to five decibels of noise. Of course it’s nigh on impossible to say how much productivity is lost due to above-average or excessive noise levels, but any desk jockey with an apparently insurmountable workload, a looming deadline and the distracting murmur of nattering colleagues will testify to how distracting it is.

Reduce Sick Days

It stands to reason that if plants reduce stress levels and help maintain a physical and mental ambience of improved wellbeing ,then the knock-on effect  will be that employees take fewer, if any, sick days.

Studies have even shown that there exists the rather ominously monikered Sick Building Syndrome, which perpetuates and circulates unpleasant toxins within a building of employees who have a lot of time off ill. And if you find me a boss that doesn’t strive for a 100% employee attendance, I’ll eat my Peace Lilly.

Reduce Dust

If the office cleaner’s a bit frugal with their duster you may want to replace them with a potted perennial. Plants have been proven – by NASA, no less – to reduce dust levels by up to 20%, although exactly how they do this still remains an enigma.

When inhaled, dust can provoke a variety of respiratory problems, such as asthma. Houseplants can also be used to purify the air and stabilise humidity.

 

So it doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night, summer or spring, plants can definitely help with your working wellbeing, and a spot of horticultural feng shui may be just what you need to get your work done and feel good about it too.

Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer with a passion for travel. When he's not busy touring the world, he can be found in the gym or at home with his partner and two cats. You can keep up with his latest adventures by following him on twitter.

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