Office space design is about more than just aesthetics. It can be a powerful tool to inspire creativity, leadership, communication, well-being and productivity.
Biophilic design is about incorporating natural elements into built environments to make them more energizing and restorative. Studies show that adding greenery to office spaces has benefits that far exceed aesthetics.
The benefits of indoor plants in the office
Incorporating office greenery not only makes for a pleasing, natural environment but also has a measurable effect on health and productivity. According to a study by the University of Exeter in 2014, adding indoor plants to an office space improved productivity by 15 per cent and significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality. They also found that allowing staff to choose their range of indoor plants to decorate their workspace increased their sense of well-being by 47% and creativity by 45%.
Research by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS, 2010), which studied 40 different offices, found that indoor plants changed employee mood states, reduced stress and other moods like office hostility, depression and fatigue by up to 60%.
Having the right office space also plays a significant role in attracting the right talent. A 2015 Human Spaces global study of 7,600 office workers across16 countries found that 33% of global respondents believed office design would affect their employment decisions . The design was even more vital in India (67%), Indonesia (62%) and the Philippines (60%), where two-thirds of office workers were significantly influenced by workplace design. After natural light, indoor plants were voted as the most important elements within an office space.
How do office plants increase happiness and productivity?
Biophilic design suggests that built environments could be made more restorative by incorporating natural elements in their design. Psychological studies have demonstrated the health and well-being benefits of placing plants inside. Bringslimark and colleagues (2009) conducted an extensive literature review of this evidence and concluded that plants have a beneficial effect on stress reduction and pain tolerance.
Office plants can also improve the health of employees and reduce sick days. A 2007 study showed that people with more plants in their workspace took fewer sick days and were more productive on the job.
In a 2004 study, researchers challenged people to make creative word associations. They performed better when a plant was in the room—indicating that greenery has a positive association with creativity and productivity.
Plants are a relatively easy and affordable addition to your office, and make a discernible difference in your employees’ quality of life and productivity. Read more about design tips for better productivity.
Find inspiring indoor office plant ideas
Indoor plant ideas are great for any office, creating a beautiful natural environment that will boost your productivity and feelings of wellbeing. Any office plants that you like the look of will do the trick, so try adding a couple of desk plants, with one or two larger plants in pots on the floor, if you have the space.
In a study by Qin et al. (2014), various plant types were tested to identify the most beneficial type of plant based on psychological and physiological assessment. The results indicate that small, green, lightly scented plants were the most optimal for health and wellbeing.
Office plants can also help absorb background noise, which is a common complaint with open-concept offices to achieve office greenery. Having plants in the office can help absorb some of the background office chatter and reduce noise distractions. Add plants to your workspace if it has hard surfaces such as exposed concrete walls or floors, as a means of absorbing the excess noise.
If you have an office that overlooks a garden or park, try placing some indoor plants near the window to direct your gaze further to the landscape beyond. As looking at nature also helps us to unwind, this is a simple way to encourage engagement with the outdoors.
To find out more about WeWork’s business solutions and innovative work spaces, get in touch with one of our representatives today.