When thinking about ways to modernise the workplace, it’s easy to look to technology for the answer to making ethically and environmentally sound decisions.
The trouble with this approach is that brands have been known to use clever marketing ploys to pray on people’s endless desire to be good to the planet.
It can be difficult to distinguish the genuine, meaningful solutions with the marketing tactics designed to make you buy into the latest products and technology.
Thankfully, something as simple as adding plants to the office can bring a host of physical and mental health benefits, without costing the earth.
The American Society of Horticultural Science suggest that the quality of air indoors can be up to 12 times more polluted than air outside, as a result of compounds found in paints, furnishings, clothing, and various other building materials.
But that doesn’t mean that you must invest in costly air purifiers or filters! In fact, a NASA study found that some household plants were able to remove up to 87 per cent of toxins in the air over a 24-hour period.
The purple waffle plant, the English ivy and the asparagus fern came out as the top performers at removing VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) indoors.
That’s right. A study by the University of Agriculture in Norway found that indoor plants also help decrease symptoms of the common cold, including coughs, fatigue, and sore throats by as much as 30 per cent.
These findings were down to the ability of plants to decrease the amount of dust particles and humidity levels.
Make people happier
As well as improving sleep and helping to fight off colds and headaches, some scientists agree that plants may also make us happier too.
This could be down to the fact that people who invest in these ideas are more likely to evaluate their own health more optimistically than your average person, resulting in a better sense of wellbeing!
According to the scientifically backed self-help book ‘59 Seconds’, plants do in fact make people more creative.
The book states that adding flowers and plants to an office resulted in 15 per cent increase in ideas, and more flexible solutions to problems.
Make people happier
As well as improving sleep habits and helping to fight off the common cold, some scientists agree that plants may also make us happier too.
This could be down to the fact that people who invest in these ideas are more likely to evaluate their own health more optimistically than your average person, resulting in an overall better sense of wellbeing!
Keep the environment front of mind
Last but not least, keeping plants in the office or at your desk goes beyond aesthetics, or even health benefits.
Every time you water a plant, it will remind you what you love about the environment, and the importance of taking care of it – something everybody should be able to get on board with.
With evidence for the benefits of plants in the office (or at home!) mounting every year, it seems that there really is no excuse not to get involved!
If you’re worried about making the plunge yourself, the guys over at refurbishment, fit out, and design consultancy firm Ultimate offer innovative and specially designed plant displays that can be implemented in your workplace.
So next time you feel tired, stressed or have another headache coming on, just add a little greenery to your environment. The solution is simpler than you think!
Our staff writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.