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Office plants can improve employee wellbeing

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Many people may feel overwhelmed by feelings of stress and negativity in shared offices, with reasons ranging from a heavy workload to long hours or poor management.

But did you know that a lack of greenery in our work environment can also lead to a significant impact on our mood and productivity?

That is according to Australian indoor environmental specialists Ambius, which says that losing our connection with nature can not only negatively impact staff morale, but can also contribute to a loss in efficiency.

“Since most of us work long hours in closed office environments, nature inspired design is an important consideration for workplaces. This can mean providing natural light, clean air or a connection to living things such as plants,” says Graeme Armeni, technical manager with Ambius.

Research conducted by the business has found that a leafy office can reduce stress and negativity by up to 60 per cent and improve productivity by around 30 per cent. However, many workplaces do not employ this feature.

As plants soak up what are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – particles which are emitted from synthetic materials in office furniture, fittings and computers – they can reduce headaches, loss of concentration and eye, nose and throat problems caused by them.

Greenery can also reduce CO2 levels, which have been linked to drowsiness, by up to 25 per cent, so the health benefits of nature in the office is further compounded with this fact.

Perhaps most interesting for employers who are still in any doubt as to whether to invest in office plants, is that the cleaner air promoted by greenery will in turn aid greater productivity and efficiency in staff.

Dr Anthony Kachenko, environmental and technical policy manager with the Nursery and Garden Industry Association, agrees with the health benefits of indoor plants. He believes that office spaces that incorporate plants into the workplace can help create an “optimal working space that breeds productivity and calmness”.