Geraniums. Perennials. Succulents.
When you think of workplace behaviors that will help you excel — and potentially get promoted — we’re sure the last factors you’re thinking about are plants.
However, new research suggests that plants should be high on our list of priorities when creating a pleasant work environment. According to scientists from the University of Exeter, plants can boost productivity and well-being by 47 percent!
Surprised? We are, too.
Apparently, there’s nothing like a little greenery to put some pep in your step. Beyond boosting productivity and well-being, workers in the study also experienced higher levels of creativity. Top that with the increase in memory retention, and you’ve got a recipe for workplace success.
But the plants themselves aren’t the only reason for these unexpected results. The findings suggest that allowing staff to make their own decisions in the workplace — like choosing subtle décor changes, such as plants — can add to these benefits. Workplace autonomy and workplace greenery go hand in hand.
The trend of plants in workplaces is catching on quickly. At Amazon HQ, Zappos' parent company, a new cloud forest has been installed for employees to hold meetings and for locals to visit. The peaceful area features immense greenery, taking employees away from their typical workspace and transporting them to a lush oasis.
“[The plants] provide something that is missing from a typical office space, a direct link to nature,” Amazon announced on its Day One blog. “Treehouse meeting rooms, river and waterfall features, palladiums, a four-story living wall, and epiphytic trees are just some of the unique features within this one-of-a-kind space.”
Of course, not all offices are capable of having impressive cloud forests. But lucky for you, even desk plants allow employees to reap the benefits of improved productivity. There are a plethora of plants that are suitable for office environments — many of which are quite low maintenance — so there’s no reason you shouldn’t give this workplace hack a try.
You’ll find that beyond the performance boost, each plant has added benefits of which to take advantage.
Here are five easy-care plants we recommend:
Benefits: English Ivy plants are great for offices with poor air circulation. They're known for their incredible ability to remove formaldehyde and airborne fecal matter (ew!) from the air around you.
Care: Incredibly low maintenance and perfect for busy employees, this plant needs enough water to keep the soil moist while growing. After this initial phase, English Ivy can tolerate dry conditions and low light.
Rubber Tree Plant
Benefits: Rubber Tree plants are also known for their air cleaning benefits, specifically carbon monoxide removal — which these plants conveniently turn into breathable oxygen. Additionally, Rubber Tree plants have antibacterial effects and eliminate mold spores from the air. For musty old offices, in particular, they are worth considering.
Care: When it comes to Rubber Trees, they’re rather resistant to neglect — aka you don’t need a green thumb to own one. Rubber Tree plants are low maintenance, and you only need to water them once or twice a month when they’re dormant. But beware: they can grow up to 8 feet tall! So if you’re planning on sitting tight at your job for the long run, you better have high ceilings.
Benefits: Orchids offer stress relief via aromatherapy, serve as a natural fragrance, and eliminate toxins in the air. Like many plants that purify the air around it, orchids are good for freshening up the workplace. Because of their pleasant smell, you get the added benefit of a light aroma around your desk. And to top it all off, that aroma has been proven to relieve stress, making it a perfect plant for an intense and fast-paced office environment.
Care: While orchids don’t need an extraordinary amount of sun, they do need some light to survive. Indirect light is the best for growing orchids indoors, so if you can place the potted plant near a curtained window, you’ll be good to go.
Benefits: Peace Lilies are one of the best plants for detoxifying air. Breaking down toxic gases like benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, they do heavy duty work while looking lovely in the process.
Care: Like many of our favorite office plants, Peace Lilies are low maintenance, only needing to water once or twice a month when dormant. Shade, not sun, is best for these lilies to grow, so you don’t need a corner office with an oversized window to grow these beauties. Bonus: most office plants don’t fall high on the aesthetic scale, but the white blooms that will occasionally sprout will be an office favorite.
Benefits: Yet another plant that purifies the air of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, Pothos is a practical option for the workplace. If more vibrant plants like lilies aren’t your thing, the subtly signature heart-shaped leaves of the Pothos plant are a more demure choice for your office.
Care: The Pothos plant can withstand low light and chilly temperatures. Not needing constant attention, you’ll intuitively know when to water the Pothos plant since the leaves will begin to droop when it lacks good old H2O.
Working in an office environment can get dull and dreary, so bring the greenery indoors and reap the benefits! There are a plethora of plants that are suitable for the workplace, so be sure to pick the one that’s best for you and your career!