How Plants Can Increase Productivity in the Workplace

28th May 2019 | 6 min read

How Plants Can Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Office plants matter more than most people realise; research suggests they can bolster workplace well-being considerably and are instrumental in increasing productivity. As well as looking pretty, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of calm and peace plants bring to the table. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (or should that be canopy?). As a LABS member – or even if you just happen to be a fan of all things flora – check out the benefits of plants for your workplace and your productivity, along with which ones you should choose to create a nature lover’s paradise.

They clean the air

Contrary to popular belief, air pollution levels are almost always higher inside buildings than they are outside (even in busy city centres). There’s a consensus among scientists that any decrease in indoor air quality directly affects health and performance, so whether you’re burnt out or too stressed to function, plants can offer the perfect solution. During the day, whilst they are performing photosynthesis, good indoor plants reliably reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and increase oxygen to carbon dioxide ratios. The positive effects this has on mental and physical health are well-recognised and, as something of an importance to employees, it’s definitely worth investing in office plants for the sake of the productivity they promote.

They provide an oasis

There’s no getting around the fact that workplace stress is a normal occurrence, but it’s still important to mitigate this risk as much as possible. One sure-fire way to reduce stress levels at the office (without blowing your budget, of course) is to turn your space into a treasure trove of plants. But don’t worry, no one’s suggesting that you need a jungle to produce a noticeable effect – keep it slick and sophisticated, just like your work ethic! We recommend adding one plant per square metre, which research suggests may help improve memory retention and get employees more psychologically engaged; nature lovers can almost certainly look forward to being happier and working better if they have their very own calming oasis.

They have a huge impact on mood

To know why office plants are so popular right now, ask yourself what comes to mind when you think about them. For many, nature takes the top spot; understandably, the phenomenal physical world that gives us flowers and birds and all the things we love, as well as making everyone feel better, is a big draw. Accordingly, green is regarded by colour psychologists as one of the most soothing shades there is. And with so much to enjoy about Mother Earth, incorporating plants and greenery into your working space can only be a positive step. We promise you’ll notice a considerable difference in productivity as well, what with everybody being in such a good mood!

They help reduce noise levels

If you’re into peace and quiet, you’ll love having plants where you work. By absorbing sounds instead of insulating against noise pollution, they minimise the distracting effects of background office chit-chat. This then improves productivity and profitability for your business, with only a small investment made on your part. Small pots are ideally suited for tabletops and desks, but you should focus on positioning larger plants in the edges and corners of your office to receive the full benefit. And if you can’t get enough of them, there’s always the option to install a focal floral centrepiece (providing you have the room, of course).

They can boost creativity

Have you ever heard of attention restoration theory? Neither did we until we started researching this piece! Basically, it suggests that looking at nature – even just images of the natural world – can shift the brain into a different processing mode, making employees feel more relaxed and better able to concentrate. This, in turn, promotes a greater sense of creativity at work that will result in increased effectiveness and enduring efficiencies. Co-existing with greenery helps workers complete daily tasks with greater accuracy, while memory and attention span can be boosted by up to 20% in their presence. So, do yourself and your team a favour and order plants for the office today. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll have a livelier, more enriched workforce to get things done.

The best plants to use in office spaces

A new plant could be just the ticket to add some colour and freshness to your workplace. And boost your productivity in the process, why wouldn’t it? Because the spaces we tend to spend most of our days are often stripped of any connection to the natural world, simply adding some greenery in the form of indoor plants can benefit organisations tremendously (think happier employees and more effective and successful business outcomes). With this in mind, it’s time we looked at some of the most popular plants for offices and find out what makes them so appealing.

Peace Lily

The clue is in the name, with the ‘peace’ part of the peace lily referring to its beautiful white flowers. Because they don’t need a lot of light – and are forgiving of occasional over-watering, too – peace lilies have become something of an office plant staple. Just make sure you don’t leave them out in direct sunlight for too long, as this can scorch the leaves.

Areca Palm

One of the most widely used plants for bright interiors, the Areca palm adds a tropical feel to your workplace while also acting as a natural humidifier. These big, bold plants command attention and expect a fair bit of care in return. And with feathery, arching fronds carrying up to 100 leaflets each, it won’t take long for them to transform your office into an area of tranquillity; if nothing else, you’ll have great fun introducing the newest, greenest members of the team to an enthusiastic workforce.

ZZ Plant

ZZ plants (otherwise known as Zanzibar Gems) don’t need much looking after. And because they store a huge amount of water, you won’t be busy searching for a watering can each day. ZZ plants can also tolerate prolonged periods of low light, which makes them ideal for our dark winters. Verdant and very attractive from root to stem, your desk will look better with their presence.

Chinese Evergreen

Popular because of the colour their leaves attain, these plants symbolise long life to the Chinese (that’s a good sign for your business!). Usually deep green, they can also have traces of silver or red in them. Despite being able to tolerate a wide range of soils, you must always keep Chinese evergreens moist and water less in the winter.

Remember to pick plants that fit your office space – you don’t want to cram in ficuses that are too tall or wide. And don’t expect anyone else to water them for you; if this is a concern of yours, it may be useful to keep a rota or log assigning responsibility evenly across staff.

LABS’ Greener Focus

Incorporating greenery into the lives of every one of its members, LABS keeps beautiful indoor plants in all common areas. These are tended to by our botanical partners so they can be enjoyed by members to the full throughout a working day.

Our pledge for greener workspaces includes:

  • Providing at least one plant per 10 square metres of communal space across 280,000 sq ft of London office.
  • The introduction of a plant package offered in partnership with Lightwater Plants when new members join the LABS Collective. The three options – Copse, Grove or Forest – will be available depending on size of budget and office.

Time to wake up and smell the roses, quite literally!