There’s no denying it. Life in an agency can be stressful.
Like in most corporate careers, looming deadlines, distracting environments and constant computer work can take their toll.
The problem is, these factors are generally unavoidable. There’s only so much you can do to quiet a noisy office or create flexible deadlines, not to mention taking people away from their screens. If we can’t take the stress out of our day-to-day working lives, we need to find ways to limit any negative effects.
It won’t be surprising to any office worker that work environments can have a huge impact on our happiness and comfort levels. A nice work space can be the difference between dreading coming to work and enjoying your time in the office. And it’s not only the effect on our mental health that should be concerning. People who feel stressed or uncomfortable end up costing businesses in sick days, unproductive hours, and staff turnover.
Our solution to this dilemma? Office plants.
Almost everyone who comes into the atomix studio comments on how many plants we have. Every surface has a few leafy friends, vines creep along the walls and bannisters, and new species and cuttings often arrive at our desks without warning.
While our director Josh’s love for nature certainly drives our plant obsession, it’s not the only reason we’ve grown ourselves an indoor oasis. Office plants have a huge range of benefits for work spaces.
Breathe that clean, fresh air
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 your air, the less you’re able to concentrate. By bringing a few plants into your office space, you’re helping to keep the air fresh and people on track.
Get rid of bacterial nasties
People leave behind a microbial cloud of bacteria wherever we go (horrible, I know). And in an office environment, these bacteria form microbial communities that can be harmful to our skin and health. Plants and their soil are full of beneficial bacteria that help to stabilise the delicate ecosystem.
Leaving chemistry and biology behind, plants are simply nice to be around. They’re colourful and relaxing, helping us to increase our creativity and focus. In fact, 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%
The study found that even one plant is enough to make a difference. Another study showed that just looking at pictures of nature helps people to perform better than others.
We have an innate need to be close to nature, and with office hours and housing density increasing, our time in natural environments is disappearing. Just being able to see nature can boost self-esteem, mood, well-being and performance. That’s a lot of benefits for a relatively small change!
Ready to buy your first plant?
Before you head out and buy any old plant, there are a few basic principles to think about first. It should be hardy and easy to maintain, and able to go without water on weekends. It’s likely that your plants will be positioned in spaces away from windows, so they need to be able to thrive in low light.
While they can be beautiful, it’s also a good idea to steer clear of office plants that flower extravagantly. If anyone suffers from allergies, they won’t thank you for the experience.
Some of the best all-rounders across these categories are devil’s ivy, bamboo palm, kentia palm, variegated snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue) and the peace lily, but there are many beautiful plants that will improve your atmosphere and mood.
With all these benefits for both health and productivity, adding some office plants to your work environment is a no-brainer. The hard part is stopping once you get going. Just ask Josh!
Want to experience our studio rainforest for yourself?
Visit our careers page to work with us or get in touch to book a consultation.