We already know that offices plants are a good thing to have around. They brighten up the working environment, freshen the air we breathe and are generally quite pleasant to look at.
In bringing the positives of nature indoors, they work a treat. But these are only some of the benefits that plants bring. Health and aesthetics are great and, in fact, can be considered very important contributions to the ideal modern working environment.
There are less obvious benefits to them too, some of which we could consider quite surprising. Who would have guessed, for example, that indoor office plants could reduce the levels of dust in the air, or could reduce the levels of noise around us.
Indeed, the benefits of indoor plants even extend to contributing to keeping a room temperature low and comfortable. With this in mind, it is difficult to have any doubts over the extensive worth that greenery has in the work place.
Reduces Background Noise
There is no doubt that an office can be a noisy place at times, what with the tapping on keyboards, phones ringing and printers printing, and the street noise that can flood in through open windows. But plants have been shown to counter these aspects.
Scientific studies have revealed that offices that have a sufficient number of plants absorb the sounds around them, effectively taking the edge off the sound. In fact, some plants have been shown to be better at absorbing certain frequencies than others, while other plants will diffract the sound waves and others still deflect them.
Offices with plants in them show a significant reduction in the dust levels. NASA had a study carried out to ascertain the effect of plant life in enclosed areas, and the results showed dust levels were reduced by an estimated 20 per cent.
The precise reason is unknown, but it is thought that, since plants filter the air by nature, the particles that would ordinarily find themselves lingering in the air are effectively processed. Keeps Temperatures Down This is related to the fact that plants cool themselves by a process known as transpiration which involves releasing moisture into the air around them. The effect is to lower the room temperature by as much as 10 F, and increase air humidity by between 30 and 60 per cent.
As a coincidence, that humidity range is considered to be the ideal for humans, meaning that people working in those conditions are at their most comfortable. Humidity can, of course, be controlled by de-humidifiers and air cons, but it is the natural process that makes the real difference, keeping everything to a normal level according to nature herself.
Perhaps this is not so surprising but while it is a matter of common knowledge that plants make us healthier and happier, the idea that stress in particular is reduced is not usually thought of.
They are all very closely linked, of course, but it is interesting to note that at the busiest times in an office, research has shown that signs of stress, like impatience, destructive criticism, over reactions and high emotions, are significantly reduced when plant life is close by. They are replaced by greater levels of cooperation, increased productivity and a more relaxed atmosphere.
Just as people working in offices have admitted to feeling happier and more productive when indoor office plants are present, research has shown that plants have a similar effect on consumers. For example, diners in garden restaurants tend to order more, cafés with plant life as part of their interior decor see customers stay longer and, consequentially, spend more. In retail stores, the results are the same, with greenery seemingly helping shoppers to be more decisive, thereby avoiding the frustration that is often punctuated by fatigue. So, instead of a customer giving up and walking out, a sale is more likely.
Clearly, there is a lot more to office plants than we thought, with the advantages extending beyond what looks good and what smells nice. With the knowledge that the benefits of indoor plants go so far as to increase sales, even marketing gurus have to concede that the investment is well worth the return.