Why We Need Plants in the Office
Concerned about office stale air? Thinking about creating a positive mood? Check your office greenery and consider the five benefits of using plants in the office! Studies have shown that indoor plants refresh breathing and rejuvenate the spirit. Read on and discover all the great health contributions of having plants in the office.
Plants Tackle Hazardous Materials
In the 1960s, swamp plants in Florida were shown to clean up the devastating effects of Agent Orange, the chemical that the U.S. infamously used during battle in Vietnam. An environmental researcher working with the military, B.C. Wolverton, Ph.D., made the findings and soon worked with NASA to counter-act indoor air pollution.
Sending astronauts to the moon and into orbit for long periods of time in a space station led NASA to clean up the effects of “off-gassing,” the slow release of chemicals from synthetic materials.
Buying quality furniture is important and near the end of this article are easy-to-follow tips to minimize off-gassing.
Plants Aid Office Wellness
By the 1980s, a new term came into being called “Sick Building Syndrome.” Wolverton released a full study by the end of the decade that focused on “energy-efficient buildings” and how both furniture and computer and electronic equipment would “off-gas hundreds of volatile organics.”
Here’s where plants became important. More research from England showed that buildings with the highest levels of microorganisms had the fewest symptoms. And the opposite scenario was true. People who had more ill symptoms worked in mechanically ventilated buildings containing low levels of microorganisms.
Plants Create an Indoor Ecosystem
How do plants work their magic? Water vapor they emit pulls the air’s contaminants to the root levels. The plant then converts it into food and microorganisms in the potting soil do the cleaning work.
Pollutants from the air are absorbed into the plants while they’re taking in carbon dioxide. That’s then turned into oxygen through photosynthesis. Here’s where the microbes come into play. They’re in the potting soil and they do a lot of the cleaning.
Plants Boost the Spirit
A home or office that has nicely placed greenery has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a way to spruce up the look of industrial grade gray. A 2014 study from the University of Exeter that was noted in Science Daily stated that a green office can boost productivity levels by 15%.
Plants also improve the air quality by raising humidity levels which benefits employees who have naturally dry skin and eyes. Dry air can also be troubling for asthma sufferers and spread germs leading to colds and flu.
Plants Absorb Sound
Air contaminants aren’t the only thing that plants absorb. Leaves and stems can capture sound waves and reflect them. That helps boost concentration levels.
In the open office, plants can act as green dividers in many creative ways. Open plan benching workstations could have small plants that are placed every several feet to create personal space.
In spaces with solid walls, plants on shelving can add color.
Recommended Indoor Plants in the Office
The following are some of the recommended plants for a healthy office:
- Spider plants – known for purifying the air
- Succulents – easy to care for and work well in small containers
- Peace Lilly – are good for creating more moisture in the air
- Aloe – a type of succulent; easy to grow and care for
- Philodendrons – are popular as hanging plants
Tips to Reduce Off-Gassing From Office Furniture
- Buy tables and desks that are well crafted.
- Remove packaging outdoors since that’s where the largest concentration of gas is released.
- Filter and circulate the air
- Use plants as noted in this post
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