After Mental Health awareness week earlier in the month, we were inspired to write about a topic close to our hearts: the impact of plants on mental health with focus on the workplace. The stringent atmosphere of the office can take its toll on mental wellbeing. And in a corporate environment, mental wellbeing is so often swept under the carpet. But the impact of plants on factors such as happiness, stress reduction and creativity really opens up a space to discuss the importance of self care, mental wellbeing and office life.
The connection between greenery and mental health
It’s known for centuries that our happiness is greatly improved by spending time outside in nature. The Japanese “shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing has been a natural form of therapy for decades. And thank you to the Victorians for making sure our cities and towns are systematically punctuated with parks. Furthermore, having house plants inside the home has become a millennial cliché; you only have to spend two seconds on Pinterest to witness the bohemian jungles currently inspiring interiors. But what about the place where we spend over a third of our waking lives?
Grey ceiling tiles and glass office partitions are the height of interior boldness in the workplace. And with an increasing turn towards minimalist office space, it can often be a soulless place to spend time. But greenery, as well as being a boost to plain decor, also has a pretty tangible effect.
Plants in the workplace have been found to:
- Reduce stress. Cortisol (stress hormone) levels are proven to be significantly lowered by exposure to green plants.
- Take you out of your head – the act nurturing the plant on your desk gives you a sense of responsibility outside of the daily grind. There’s more to life than spreadsheets, after all.
- Counteract drying air conditioning.
- Reduce toxins in the air.
- Produce more healthy oxygen for better brain function.
- Reduce noise in your environment – the plants absorb noise and can act as a sound barrier to loud conference calls.
How plants improve work wellbeing and performance
The positive links between plants and working life have also been scientifically proven by horticulturalists and psychologists alike:
At the Chelsea Flower Show, renowned Indoor Garden Design director Ian Drummond hosted an experimental exhibit in workplace plants. He created a range of indoor office spaces and challenged over 350 visitors to take part in a study measuring their happiness, creativity productivity. Ian found that in a workspace enhanced with office plants people’s well-being increased by 47%, creativity by 45% and productivity by 38%.
Similarly, The psychologist Dr Chris Knight’s 10 years of research at the University of Exeter has concluded that employees were 15% more productive when “lean” workplaces are filled with just a few houseplants, as employees who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers.
Bringing plants into the workplace
At Persephone Violet, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by plants in our workplace every single day. But if you’re not so lucky, do pop in and see what green goodies we have up for adoption. Depending on the season, we have some great office-friendly greenery in stock. And of course, there’s always our succulent selection.
Having plants in the office is the perfect way to inject some life into work. But more than that, it shows that looking after ourselves doesn’t stop when we step inside the office.