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How Office-Friendly Plants Can Reduce Stress and Prevent Illness

According to researchers, filling and decorating your workspace with plants could help combat sick days and reduce stress levels.

Those who work in high-rise office buildings knows just how easily infections can spread. This is a problem that is often associated with poor ventilation. Also, chemicals used in office furniture can cause an array of health concerns too.

Considering the amount of time most of us spend at work, our office is literally our home away from home. Thus, our workspace (the physical environment), can impact our stress level, happiness, and health either positively or negatively.

Thus, small changes to your office space can add aesthetically pleasing elements, as well as several health benefits.

Office plants can help remove air toxins, improve memory and productivity, and reduce stress and the risk of illness.

According to researchers though, one excellent way to combat both sick days and stress is as simple as investing in some plants, which will help purify the air of toxic chemicals.

One excellent way to combat both sick days and stress is by filling your office with plants, and ideally, you want plants that will ‘scrub’ the air of pathogens, improve the office’s mix of bacteria, and survive in low light with little care.

Doing so can help clear the air of harmful substances, like formaldehyde, benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, and even ammonia, found in some office furniture.

How Office Plants Can Fight Workplace Harms

While offices can be a breeding ground for bacteria which cause viruses, plant-associated bacteria could actually be good for you.  

The beneficial bacteria on indoor plants and in their soil are an important addition to the office, helping to stabilize the ecology of the built synthetic environment.

In other words, plant-associated bacteria could also help to avoid outbreaks of pathogens by balancing the complex network of the ecosystem.

Fight Nasty Chemicals

One of the many chemical compounds given off by synthetic office furnishings is formaldehyde, which can irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat, and can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tract, as well as headaches, has also been reported as some symptoms of exposure to formaldehyde toxins. Other harmful chemicals in the office like benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene, and even ammonia from cleaning products are equally harmful to our health.

High levels of carbon dioxide breathed out by a roomful of colleagues can give the room a stuffy feeling.

A clean air study by NASA tested common indoor plants for the ability to filter pollutants and found many are very effective at removing multiple kinds of organic compounds from the air.

To best remove indoor pollutants, place one medium-sized plant per 2.2 square meters of space.

Fight Stress

Research has shown that green spaces promote public health, and that contact with nature, especially green scenes, can shift highly stressed people to a more positive emotional state.

A study recognized eight ways people perceive green urban spaces (Serene, Space, Nature, Rich in Species, Refuge, Culture, Prospect, and Social) and established the importance of considering green plant life when creating public places.

Thus, offices, particularly those with many people, poor ventilation or low natural light, should consider plants and green spaces a necessity.

The Good Office Plant

There are a few basic principles for a good office plant, and that includes:

  • It must be hardy and easy to maintain,
  • Able to survive without water over weekends
  • Adapted to low light.
  • Avoid plants that flower extravagantly, which may cause allergic reactions.
  • Check with your colleagues before introducing new plants.

List of some Good Office Plants

The extensive list of plants includes:

  • areca palm,
  • aloe vera,
  • English ivy,
  • Boston fern,
  • peace lily,
  • weeping figs
  • devil’s ivy,
  • bamboo palm,
  • kentia palm,
  • variegated snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue),
  • the peace lily, and
  • lady’s palms

All of these plants are said to be able to purify the air, and there are many beautiful plants that will improve your atmosphere and mood. Introducing more plants to your environment could also help tackle stress.

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This, they say, is because studies have proven that green spaces and nature can help promote feelings of relaxation and calmness, which can contribute to your mood.



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