If this situation sounds bleak, you’ll be glad to learn that there’s an upside. Although workplace stress is attributable to a number of influences, there’s a solution that addresses most of them in one go: indoor plants.
Making workplaces pleasant
It might sound counterintuitive, but much of your workers’ stress can be reduced just by making your workplace more attractive.
Visual influences are important to the wellbeing and productivity of human beings, who inherently prefer the visual novelty of colourful spaces and perform better in physically comfortable environments.
Research in architecture and interior design has found that workplace design is important in attracting and retaining high-performing staff. While there isn’t yet a lot of empirical data on the topic, there is solid support emerging through compelling primary-source research—like Empirica Research’s 2014 study—linking physical workplace environment (office design) to employer attractiveness. Workplace design significantly increases the attractiveness of employers to potential candidates, especially in conjunction with an attractive organisational culture, leading to higher job satisfaction, employee recruitment, and employee retention.
One of the easiest ways to make office spaces attractive is by bringing in some nature.
Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway concluded that potted plants reduce stress; and according to other research, workers who spend over four hours a day at a computer feel better when they have plants near their monitors where they can see them. These studies confirm what people know intuitively—that plants create calm, make people feel better, and restore general wellbeing.
Lessening health symptoms
One of the biggest problems in modern workplaces is the impact they have on the health of workers.
Workers subject to unpleasant working environments—potentially any office space at all—are at risk of suffering from headaches, dry eyes, and respiratory problems including dry throat and coughing. Working in these conditions, and being constantly uncomfortable and unwell, has a huge impact on the stress levels of workers.
Many studies have also found greater concentrations of harmful substances indoors than outdoors. Synthetic furniture, equipment, and substances in the work environment all emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are a major cause of illness, including long-term and morbid illnesses like cancer. While we don’t yet fully understand the impact of our modern environments on our health, the evidence is mounting—and it’s also growing in favour of incorporating indoor plants into our workplaces.
Plants are natural air filters: they are consistently being proven to reduce the toxins in indoor air and restore the balance of humidity, reducing the occurrence of respiratory tract illnesses and physical complaints among workers.
By countering harmful stimuli in the work environment and supporting the health and wellbeing, indoor plants are a major contributor in reducing the stress levels of workers that impacts on their quality of life and the bottom line of the business.
Enhancing creative thinking and mood
Improving the bottom line
Stress can cause errors, illness, reduced work quality and productivity, and increased absenteeism and turnover.
It’s a vicious cycle; but forward-thinking employers can take sensible measures to interrupt it. Introducing plants into the indoor work environment is a cost-effective, low-risk and high-impact step that smart business leaders can take to reduce the negative business and personal consequences that worker stress can have for their business.
It’s a simple formula: since stress increases illness and decreases effectiveness and productivity, management of stress contributes to business success—and there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that introducing plants into an indoor work environment is an effective way to reduce worker stress.
Live plants are a valuable component of any comprehensive plan to create a balanced, healthful, and productive work environment: to find out more about how you can improve your business’s bottom line and the wellbeing of your workers, contact Prestigious Plantscapes. Our skilled plant designers will be happy to help you transform your workplace into a thriving, healthful hub of productivity, and be part of moving your business into a new age of vitality.