Plant death is inevitable; they are living organisms after all. But as long as you have more that survive than die, you’re doing something right!
While plants can make great decorative pieces, evidence suggests that in an office setting, exposure to greenery can help to alleviate stress, restore attention capacity, and improve productivity. In fact, there was a study published back in 1998 that proved just how beneficial having foliage in the workplace can be.
Over the course of two years, they were able to observe a 23% decrease in neuropsychological symptoms in employees where plants were present. It’s not just a mental change either, plants have also been found to have a direct influence on physical states as well. Mucous membrane symptoms were reduced by 24% and cough by 25%. Where there are plants, there is potential for decreased sick leave!
The researchers suggest that health improvements were likely due to two mechanisms: improved air quality and the psychological value of being in a more pleasing environment. The presence of plants may have created a microclimate effect that resulted in increased moisture (which could influence mucous membrane systems) as well as a cleansing of the chemicals in the air.
However, using plants effectively is difficult as there’s tons of options and finding the right plants for the space you have can be a challenge. As designers, it’s our job to fix that for you!
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Need some inspiration to point you in the right direction? Take a look around. You can use plants to frame doorways or follow along a hallway. Is square footage a commodity? Look up! Hanging plants are a great way to save on floor space.
Even after all this, you’re probably still worried about how to actually manage live plants in the workplace. You can always have employees take turns on a watering schedule, or use a faithful hack we like to call “the unkillables.”
There are plants that thrive in being ignored. Snake plants can grow tall enough to frame a door well, and it really doesn’t need much light or water to live. Devil’s Ivy is a great hanging plant that can live in almost any light condition and is pretty forgiving to being forgotten about every now and again.
There are two main factors when selecting the perfect plants: temperature, and lighting. If you’re based in the northern hemisphere, south facing windows will receive the most indirect sunlight during the day, and in the southern hemisphere, north facing windows are best. When it comes to temperature, the more stable it is, the better. Try to keep any plants you have away from heaters and air conditioning vents or doors that open to the outside.
Once you have the spaces figured out, the next thing you have to do is style the plants. Freddie Blackett, CEO of Patch Plants (an online plant store that specializes in indoor gardening) says, “aesthetically, plants play three main roles. They can fill a space, frame a space, or follow a space.” Keeping those things in mind can help you choose plants that work for you.