How office plants help us to improve productivity and wellbeing

May 19, 2023|By atomix
Read time: 6 mins

It’s a jungle in here.

We're not kidding, it's like a rainforest oasis. A garden utopia. A botanical paradise. Well perhaps not quite that far, but it is our own little patch of Eden that we call, our office.

With an impressive variety of over 150 plants including foliage and flowering varieties, succulents, ferns, palms, creepers, plants in terrariums, hanging from or climbing up all kinds of places - the greenery is truly captivating.

When you walk through the front door it's amazing and welcoming. Once inside, going about what could be described as the daily grind - it rarely is. Rather, working inside the office has been described as cozy, engaging, inspiring and grounding. This sentiment is echoed by clients and visitors alike.

So why? And who's behind all this captivating greenery? First let's address the science behind it.

Green office space

Physical spaces, people & biophilic design

The incorporation of plants into the office design is a concept known as biophilic design. This approach to design incorporates elements of nature into the built environment in order to create a more positive and productive work environment. It is related to environmental psychology (how people interact with and are affected by their physical environment) in that it seeks to improve the well-being and health of people by connecting them with the natural world.

Biophilic design draws on principles of environmental psychology to create spaces that promote positive psychological and physiological responses in users, such as reduced stress and improved cognitive function.

Here's just a few of the benefits it brings to our team members, clients, and visitors.

Nature’s air purifier

Plants clean and improve the quality of the air, removing harmful chemicals like benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Poor indoor air quality is likely to be the cause of a syndrome known as ‘sick building syndrome‘. This syndrome has been associated with headaches, dry eyes, nose and throat, a woozy-head feeling and nausea.

Plants also reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 10% in air conditioned buildings, and a huge 25% in buildings without air conditioning. The more carbon dioxide is in the air, the less you’re able to concentrate - our plant friends help us to stay focused and clear-minded.

Sound absorbing

Office plants can help to absorb noise, creating quiet nooks and enhancing our team’s ability to focus in an otherwise open, airy office. Open-plan offices are pretty much the norm nowadays, but the lack of walls means it can be hard to keep things at an ambient volume. Hard surfaces create the perfect environment for taps, clicks and all sorts of other nauseating little noises to bounce around and create distraction.

In our studio, we find having a background playlist going tends to help drown out the more obvious, sharp sounds (here’s our current favourite on Spotify) - but really, we think the ambience comes down to our beautiful plants. We’ve popped a few smaller pots on our desks, some bigger trees and ornamentals in corners and to line walkways, and hung trails of ivy from the rafters to add to the overall insulating, cosy effect.

Bringing the outdoors in

A study by Nursery and Garden Industry Australia found that office plants reduced:

  • Tension and anxiety by 37%

  • Depression and dejection by 58%

  • Anger and hostility by 44%

  • Fatigue by 38%

As humans, we have an innate need to be close to nature, but our time in natural environments has been limited lately. One study found that during COVID19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, even just viewing pictures of nature would have reduce levels of stress and enhance wellbeing.

By maximising natural light and using natural textures and materials, such as wood, cane, bamboo, and an abundance of plants, our office create a sense of connection to the natural world.

Making us happier humans and more productive employees

When we’re happier in our workspaces, we’re more likely to be engaged and productive in our roles. As our team and clients have adopted a hybrid working model of in-person and remote, we've adapted to the growing demand for the workplace to provide a comfortable and productive environment that combines the best features of both home and office, such as a sense of community, energy and focus. For us, it's crucial in attaining balance between wellbeing and performance.

A study from Exeter University found that even a few houseplants in a usually bare, ‘lean’ office increased productivity by 15% - and our mantra is “more is definitely more!”

Here's what a day in the office looks and feels like. You can catch more plant and office stories on instagram.

Our service capability

This article wouldn't be complete if we weren't to mention the mastermind behind our green office vision - Atomix Founder, Principal and Director - Josh Boorman. Not only has a green thumb that's out of this world and has managed to propagate and grow hundreds of plants (pretty sure he's a plant whisperer), he believes strongly in the connection between brand and physical spaces. Josh says:

Plants bring life and a sense of calm to our studio. It’s always special to watch people enter the space for the first time!

Josh BoormanFounder, Principal & Director - Solutions, Strategy & Operations

At Atomix, we use the tools and methods within our core capabilities - research & strategy, experience design and digital transformation to support our design partners in this space.

If this is a topic you'd like to know more about email us at for a free consult with our Design team.

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