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Clean indoor air – Why plants are necessary for the workplace

The benefits of living plants in the work place in terms of providing clean indoor air was first discovered in the 1980’s and since then significant research has been conducted to define and quantify these benefits. In summary, current research shows that having plants in the workplace will help clean indoor air and actually achieves the following:
• 12% improvement in productivity
• 30% reduction in confusion
• 38% reduction in fatigue
• 60% reduction in sick leave
Living plants clean indoor air by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released over time from plastics, glues, paints etc. that are used in the makeup of office furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The most recent research, conducted at the University of Technology Sydney (Burchett et al, Feb. 2010) provides a compelling case for indoor plants.This research provided further evidence for the benefits of plants for occupant wellbeing. The report conclusively demonstrated that indoor potted-plants can eliminate high or low doses of airborne VOCs within 24 hours. Indoor plants clean indoor air we breathe.

Living plants are also a great way to:

• Baffle noise
• Reduce dust
• Stabilises humidity
• Increase business image

An American study surveyed 170 respondents to explore what effects indoor plants had on a ‘business’s image to a visitor’ (potential customer/client). It could be expected that the same responses will be also be shared by the firm’s staff. There was universal agreement amongst respondents on a number of issues, including that indoor plants led to the perception that the business was:

• Warm and welcoming
• Stable and balanced
• Well-run
• Comfortable to work with
• Patient and caring • Concerned for staff welfare
• Prepared to spend money on added beauty
• Not mean
• Providing a healthier, cleaner atmosphere

Triple Bottom Line:

1. Indoor plants are good for business.
2. Indoor plants are good for the working environment.
3. Indoor plants are good for your staff’s health and wellbeing

Cost benefits:

Lohr (1992) found that participants in a study looking at staff productivity showed that ‘living plant presence’ is highly effective in improving staff satisfaction and productivity. Participants showed 12% more productivity and less stress than those who worked in an environment with no plants – a significant financial and ‘staff health’ benefit for employers in today’s competitive marketplace.