Innovation has long been a buzz word in business.
It is a concept that has no boundaries, that roams free and wild and infiltrates all aspects of a successful venture.
Within the office furniture sector, innovation remains a key driver to understanding emerging sciences and trends, such as Biophilia, the love of life and our affinity to connect with living organisms and living systems.
What does this have to do with the everyday office? Well, quite a lot, as businesses look for inventive ways to enhance the work experience and everyday well-being of their employees.
More and more are turning to Biophilia in the shape of plants.
Over the past 20 years, the construction industry has increasingly become more environmentally conscious, with green building accreditations being much-coveted, as corporations look to change their approach to new office buildings.
As a consequence, modern buildings tend to have much more natural light, systems to collect storm water and more space.
And one of the chief benefactors of these green-design buildings has been the introduction of more plants.
If nature underpins every person’s wellbeing and ambitions, then it is easy to see why making the office greener, can have a positive impact on employees.
The field of Biophilic Design is relatively new, but its objectives are to bring living systems and nature inspired design into hospitals, workplaces, cities, and across human systems.
Plants and workspaces
The benefits of Biophillia are not exclusive to new, green-build office blocks and the effects of plants can help transform any business, no matter where the location is or how old the building.
An article in May 2019, on the labs.com website, examined why office plants matter more than most people realise, suggesting that research had shown how they can bolster workplace well-being considerably and are instrumental in increasing productivity.
According to LABS, plants contribute to the office in a number of ways:
- They help to clean air, which inside buildings, is typically more polluted. There is a suggestion that reduced indoor air quality directly affects health and performance, so the role of plants is immediately a positive. During the day, whilst they are performing photosynthesis, good indoor plants reliably reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and increase oxygen to carbon dioxide ratios. Suddenly those buildings letting in natural light are serving a hugely important function.
- Plants help to reduce sickness and absence rates. The 2015 Human Spaces report, which studied 7,600 offices workers in 16 countries, indicated that 58% of workers have no live plants in their workspaces. Those whose environments incorporated natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score and a 6% higher productivity score than employees whose offices didn’t include such elements. In fact, a small study by the Agricultural University of Norway in the 1990s, reported that the introduction of plants to one office resulted in a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health, including fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin and irritation of the nose and eyes.
- Plants add an aesthetic benefit for the workforce. Research has indicated that introducing one plant per square metre to a workspace may enhance memory retention and help to psychologically engage employees.
- Plants will also help to improve the moods of your workers. Getting in touch with nature evokes positive emotional responses connected to happiness. The very colour green is linked to soothing.
- A quieter atmosphere. Strategically-placed plants serve an important function in reducing noise volumes, which can in turn reduce stress levels in humans. Plants can absorb sounds, helping to minimise background office chit-chat which not only reduced stress, but will help people to concentrate better. The net result is improved productivity.
- Bolstering creativity in the workplace. According to the LABS article, plants affect the human brain by making employees feel more relaxed, by “looking at nature”. Enhanced concentration levels help to generate creativity and it is claimed that memory and attention spans can be increased by up to 20% when workers are surrounded by plants.
Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increases in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”
Marlon Nieuwenhuis, Cardiff University
A 2014 report from the University of Exeter, found that introducing plants to a ‘lean office; boosted productivity by 15%.
Lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said: “Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”
Your next step to growing the idea
From small ideas can come great result and iQ Workspace works on all aspects of your office layout and design, to create the perfect workplace environment.
With a huge supplier base around the world, we can incorporate ideas that free up space with smart furniture, letting in more natural light, to create an experience ideal for humans and plants to thrive.
Along with our partners, we recognise that storage is one of the biggest challenges you may face and the answer is often very simple and comes down to the right furniture.
At iQ Workspace, that even includes storage planter units, to bring your staff closer to nature.
The next step is to get in touch with iQ Workspace and let us help create a healthier, more focussed workplace environment.
Office Plants images from PlantPlan