Research proves that plants elevate mood and boost productivity, creativity, and focus in the workplace.
We spend a significant portion of our lives working. In fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime. So it’s safe to say the environment where we spend all that time working does significantly impact the quality of our lives.
But you already knew that.
Now consider this. As COVID ebbs and flows, industries continue to welcome workers back to the office. But many companies struggling to recruit the best and brightest amidst a talent shortage are taking it upon themselves to reimagine the workplace as a destination rather than a place of obligation.
Plants are helping innovative companies create workplaces that embody core values like health and wellness and attract the best and brightest, while also inviting existing employees and clients back in a way that clearly supports the holistic needs of everyone who uses the space.
Studies show that plants can elevate mood, drive productivity, and boost both creativity and focus. Plus, the largest part of today’s workforce expects employers to prioritize healthcare and well-being.
For these reasons, forward-thinking organizations are increasingly incorporating natural elements, like plants, when designing modern office layouts.
Keep reading to learn why embracing something called biophilic design in the workplace can drive productivity and create happier and healthier lifestyles — both personally and professionally. We’ll also share the 13 best plants to bring into your office.
What Is Biophilic Design?
Bill Browning is a design strategist and sustainability consultant, who has been reviving buildings using properties of biophilic design for decades. Clients call him when they want to reduce sick days, improve efficiency in limited space, or breathe life into a new headquarters.
“Browning isn’t here to tell us what it should look like,” one client explains. “He’s here to tell us how nature would do it.”
Browning’s clients include the architects and owners who commissioned the design of the Bank of America Tower in New York, Google’s East Coast headquarters, and other global landmarks.
By acknowledging the fact that workers are human beings and accomplish goals in different ways, biophilic design offers alternatives to managing workflows or recharging creative energy in an unnatural and monotonous setting.
Biophilic design takes its guidance from nature and can happen all at once in an all-encompassing way or by taking small steps that incorporate basic changes.
- Lighting can replicate natural sunlight by becoming brighter and dimmer as the day progresses.
- Artwork can incorporate natural materials and colors or images of landscapes like forests or valleys.
- And, of course, incorporating plants is a very easy way to begin using biophilic design.
How Office Plants Make a Difference
It's well documented that surrounding yourself with greenery is a healthy choice. Not only do plants filter the majority of toxins from the air in a single day, they also boost concentration, productivity, and overall happiness.
Introducing plants to your workspace is an easy way to harness the positive effects offered by plant life, even for home offices.
Office Plants Deliver Tangible Benefits
There are many benefits of incorporating plants into your workspace
- According to NASA, it takes only 24 hours for indoor plants to filter out 87% of the airborne toxins circulating in your office.
- One study found that being closer to natural elements can lower blood pressure and cortisol, two significant contributors to stress levels.
- Compared to artificial plants or other plastic greenery, real indoor plants are far more effective at improving cognitive function and concentration.
- Indoor plants are so therapeutic that certain medical clinics in England now 'prescribe' plants to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and dementia.
- Some theories suggest that, since our evolutionary roots are so intertwined with nature, it's only logical that we feel more at ease and content when plants are present.
Office Plants Provide a Sustainable Design Touch to Your Office
Aside from their proven psychological benefits, office plants also add a natural, evergreen design element to your space. That’s why they’ve become one of the most common and popular modern office design trends.
And choosing real plants over artificial options means you're not using wasteful plastics or other materials that will end up in a landfill.
13 Best Office Plants That Will Improve Your Workspace
When you're incorporating plants into an office environment, consider which kinds will thrive in your indoor environment and enhance your productivity.
Indoor plants vary greatly in terms of their appearance, size, and required care, so it's worth researching the wide variety of options available to you.
Below are 13 of the best office plants to incorporate into your next design project.
1. Bonsai Trees
Steeped in the mystical and calming traditions of Asia, the Bonsai Tree symbolizes peace, balance, and harmony. Certain Bonsai varieties (like the Ficus Ginseng) are thought to bring good luck
The Bonsai's small size makes for versatile placement, like on a windowsill or desk.
Although they can be temperamental when it comes to watering and temperature, Bonsai are relatively easy to care for and make a beautiful addition to any office.
2. Neon Pothos
Known for its ability to purify the air, the Neon Pothos is a popular option for high-pollution environments since it can remove harmful toxins like benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene from the workplace.
The bright and beautiful Neon Pothos is best cultivated as a hanging or crawling plant and needs bright, indirect sunlight. Water this plant when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
3. Snake Plant
The Snake Plant is one of the most resilient houseplants around and can tolerate long periods of neglect. It's an ideal choice for those who travel often or frequently stay late at the office.
This plant thrives in bright, indirect sunlight but can also tolerate low light levels and occasional periods of drought. In fact, overwatering is the worst thing you can do for the Snake Plant, so make sure to let the top inch of soil dry out in between watering.
4. Rubber Plants
Also known as Ficus Elastica, these hardy plants have leaves that are rubber-like in texture. Although this Ficus prefers bright, indirect sunlight, it’s a great low-maintenance choice that can tolerate low light levels and irregular watering.
The Rubber Plant is considered one of the most durable indoor plants as it can bounce back from periods of neglect.
5. Peace Lilies
The Peace Lily, popular for its pristine white flowers and glossy green leaves, offers a touch of elegance and sophistication for any office space.
While they're beautiful to look at, Peace Lilies are also excellent when it comes to cleansing the air of harmful toxins and adding much-needed humidity to dry office environments. And, if you're looking for a brighter aesthetic, some Peace Lilies varieties come in a brilliant and vibrant shade of red.
Some designers prefer a more neutral green aesthetic, but when a design plan calls for a pop of color, consider the Aglaonema.
The plant’s large, pink speckled leaves are dramatic and calming at the same time.
Cacti come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and they don't require much in the way of care.
Some cacti — like the Schlumbergera — even bloom beautiful flowers. The key to keeping cacti alive is to avoid over-watering them.
8. Air Plants
If you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that will liven up the design of any office space, look no further than the Air Plant.
Air Plants don't need any soil. They get all the nutrients they need from the air around them. Just make sure to give them a misting every now and then.
9. ZZ Plant
The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, better known as the ZZ plant, is a striking houseplant with long, glossy stems with almond-shaped leaves. It only requires the occasional watering — one good soaking every couple of weeks — making it perfect for any office design.
10. Spider Plants
The Spider Plant is known for their long, thin leaves and easy maintenance.
Just one single plant can help liven up a waiting area or kitchen office redesign. And, if you're feeling ambitious, you can even propagate your own spider plants from the babies that the mother plant produces.
Free of spikes but just as easy to care for as their cacti cousins, Succulents come in all shapes and sizes. Like cacti, succulents don't require much water or attention.
If you're looking to add a splash of color, there are some stunning varieties, like the Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg, which has beautiful pink-purple leaves.
12. Madagascar Dragon Plant
Picture what spider plants would look like if they suddenly grew a long, skinny trunk. That's the Madagascar Dragon Plant, or Dracaena Marginata.
This plant is perfect for filling up empty corners. Plus, its long leaves help purify the air. It's native to Madagascar, so if your office design plan has a Bohemian theme, the Dragon Plant might be the right option.
Renowned as a source of peace and serenity, bamboo is often used to establish a sense of feng shuiin many indoor office design plans. And because it grows so quickly, bamboo is perfect for creating privacy in outdoor landscapes.
Add some bamboo to your office, and you're sure to see an improvement in the energy flow of your space. Just make sure not to get too carried away — a few stalks are all you need.
For today’s modern workforce, bleak cubicles and fluorescent lighting are no longer cutting it. Employees are human beings and thrive when surrounded by natural design elements.
If you're looking to spruce up your office space and elevate the way you feel during the workday, office plants are a cost-effective and quick first step in the right direction.
Learn more about picking the perfect planters for your next office design project by requesting a quote today. Our experts will be happy to help you.