The physical environment we work in is a strategic asset. It is the place where our staff can either feel engaged or disengaged, and can be the difference between excellent and unsatisfactory business performance. The place we work, with the addition of indoor plants, can be a real competitive advantage.
Recent research by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), as part of the â€œBetter Places for Peopleâ€ campaign, shows that indoor plantsÂ are not simply anÂ unnecessary cost.Â Rather, they play a vital role in improving productivity and hence, the bottom line. Even a 1% increase in productivity can have a huge impact on the bottom line, as staff typically account for 90% of business operating costs.
The WorldGBC highlights eight features for a healthy, sustainable indoor environment:
The presence of indoor plants provides many benefits, which shows that they arenâ€™t simply just a luxury item. Out of these eight features highlighted by the WorldGBC, indoor plants contribute significantly to achieving six of them:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Indoor Air Quality & Ventilation:Â According to UTS research, as little as 3-6 plants can reduce VOC levels to below 100 parts per billion (ppb), which is below the Australian recommended level (500ppb). Without plants, we are exposed to pollutedÂ indoor air, which can be up toÂ 10 times more pollutedÂ than outdoor air.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Thermal Comfort:Â Plants donâ€™t store energy, they reflect it. Plants, especially green walls,Â help to actively cool the air, providing employees with a comfortable environment to work in.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Noise & Acoustics:Â WorldGBC reports a 66% fall in staff performance as a result of distracting noise. Indoor plants help reduce noise, by acting as extra insulation between spaces.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Interior Layout & Active Design:Â Indoor plants encourage a flexible workspace and staff engagement. It is proven that staff that feel more in control are often more satisfied and loyal. Indoor plants are a great way ofÂ giving staff theÂ option of where theyâ€™d like to place them, and not simply settling for a workspace assigned to them.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Biophilia & Views:Â As humans, we have an innate need to connect with nature. Views of nature give us unconscious feelings of calm, relaxation and helps reduce stress. Without realising, we reset our â€œattention-buttonâ€, enabling us to work better, for longer, while feeling happier too.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Look & Feel:Â Plants bring beautiful colour and vibrancy to any space. UTS research shows that a company is perceived more positively with the presence of plants, and this is backed up by WorldGBC, who state that â€œvisual appeal is a major factor in workplace satisfaction.â€
Real world examples of how indoor plants benefit businesses
WorldGBC also highlights cases where plants play a key role in improving productivity:
- The presence of plants satisfies our innate need to connect with nature. This saw a 7-12% improvement in processing time at a call centre.
- Medibank in Melbourne have over 2,000 plants in the whole office, which has contributed to improved wellbeing & productivity â€“ 80% of staff are working more collaboratively, 2 in 3 felt healthier in the office and 5% lower absenteeism.
- Leadleaseâ€™s International Tower 3 in Sydney has a 6m high green wall with over 5,000 plants that contributes significantly to removing pollutants from the air.
With the help of indoor plants, we should see our office as an asset that can enable us to achieve productivity & excellent business performance. Find out moreÂ about how indoor plants can benefit you and your business.