Nicky Roeber is the Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres. In this article, he explains the positive effects houseplants can have on workplace productivity, and shares his tips for filling your office with foliage.
Every business wants to get the best work from their employees, and companies spend thousands of pounds on staff incentive schemes and sleek, modern offices to this end. However, what employers often don’t realise is that the little things can often have the biggest impact on their employees’ productivity and happiness.
Houseplants definitely fall into this category. While you might not think introducing a few plants into your office will make that much of a difference, the research suggests otherwise. A study led by Dr Chris Knight of Exeter University concluded that adding a few houseplants to a “lean” workplace increased productivity by 15%. Dr Knight suggests this dramatic improvement is down to flora allowing staff to psychologically engage with their environment in a way that magnolia walls and glowing computer monitors don’t.
This isn’t the only benefit houseplants will bring to your office. Plants naturally remove harmful toxins such as formaldehyde, bezene, and trichloroethylene from the air by pulling them into the soil and then converting them into food. This will purify the air in your workplace, helping to improve the health of your entire workforce and reduce the number of sick days people take.
Furthermore, houseplants have been shown to improve memory retention and concentration levels, according to Texas A&M. This means that this simple addition to your office could not only increase productivity throughout your business, but also help to improve the quality of your employees’ work.
Introducing houseplants into your office can also help improve comradery between your staff. If your office is open plan and your staff work alongside each other, the simple act of sharing the responsibility of caring for a plant can help bring them together more effectively than a typical team building exercise ever could.
In short, introducing houseplants into your office can make your staff happier, bring them together, help improve the quality and quantity of their work, and reduce the amount of sick days taken. If you want to reap these benefits in your workplace, then here’s a few tips.
According to Dr Knight’s research, spacing is key — one plant per square meter will give you the best effect. Every member of staff should be able to see a plant from their desk. This will allow them to engage in their environment, which is why it makes them happier and more productive.
It’s also important that you choose plants that don’t require a lot of upkeep, so your staff can afford to forget to water them every now and then without any consequences. Cacti are a classic houseplant because they’re so easy to maintain, while jade plants, rubber trees, and spider plants are all attractive alternatives that thrive without the need for much care or attention.
While adding a few houseplants to your office might seem like an overly-simple way to improve productivity throughout your business, research suggests it can be incredibly effective. Invest in some foliage for your workplace and your business will begin to reap the many benefits I’ve described.