Office Plants: Why they’re more important than you might think

Plants in the office are something that many of us take for granted, but research shows that they actually do a lot more for keeping a healthy working space than we might think. You might have seen our last post about how much we here at Complex Creative love our plants, so today we’re bringing you 4 key points on how valuable they can really be.

1. Strengthen Mental Health

People talk about this one a lot, saying that plants can help people feel better, but did you know it’s actually backed up byscience?

Studies conducted over the past few years have turned up findings that seeing plants around the home or the office can directly counteract feelings of depression and anxiety. This is particularly impressive since the study was taken during the height of the pandemic last year, when mental health issues were peaking.

A houseplant or two seems like a small thing to have such a big impact on how we can feel, but many people can get real comfort, or even companionship from the feeling of caring for a plant. Plus, they can really brighten up a dull office space, and add a bit of natural feeling where people may be missing it.

2. Boost Creativity and Productivity

This seems like it barely needs saying, with how plants can help people’s mental health, but having a plant around can really do a lot for helping people think more clearly and creatively.

This Japanese study from 2017 looked into the specific benefits of plants in the office, and really came out with some impressive findings. Not only did the subjects stay more awake and alert, they even kept a lower heart rate! Thanks to all those benefits, the work they put out was at a consistently higher level, and they were happier while doing it.

Something cool that this study also found out was that it’s plants with a combination of green and red that often work best in the office. Sounds good to me – as long as I’m not the one responsible for the office’s big prize laceleaf!

3. Purify Air

This is another big one, that people really don’t think about enough! We all know that plants photosynthesise to give us the air we breathe, but it’s possible that we’re not thinking about just what that can mean for us in the small scale.

Here’s a fun study from NASA about the air filtering abilities of plants, from back in the 80s when they were thinking about using houseplants on space stations (if you’re curious, they introduced a permanent plant habitat back in 2017). What they found out is that there are lots of pollutants that accumulate in still, indoor air, and a single houseplant can manage to efficiently keep air free of these for as much as 100 square feet! More than that, they can even become better at cleaning the air over time, as they adapt!

4. Increase Health and Recovery Rates

This one sounds like pseudoscience, but it’s true! Hospitals will often try and keep some greenery around for exactly this reason, and often we’ll bring some flowers for a sick friend or family member to try and make them feel a little better. We might think it’s just to improve the mood, but it really can correlate with helping people overcome illness faster and easier.

For a regular office, or just in our homes, this can be useful too, if we’re ever trying to work while feeling a bit ill or tired. They can keep spirits up, and get everyone back to doing their best.

The Verdict

Lots of research has gone into working out what plants can do for us, and why it is that they can make us feel so much better, and honestly that’s just a major sign of how much they work. The psychological benefits, in particular, are really impressive, and something it’s difficult to really pin down and explain. Why is it that a bit of green around where we work can make us feel so much better that it can even lower our heartbeat?

We can theorise that it’s something to do with feeling a bit more of a connection to something natural, or something to do with the companionship a plant can provide – but in the end, does it matter?

For us, it’s enough to just have our plants around the office, and know that they’re doing their bit to keep us all happy.