When Plants Thrive, So Do People

(June 30, 2006)- Remember back in college when you lived in a dorm, and your parents gave you a plant to keep in your room, noting, “If the plant survives, so will you.” It may have been a joke, but it is true that most of us feel better when there’s a little green in our environment. Plants can even make the environment healthier.

Plants at Work, an organization that educates people on the measurable benefits of plants, states, “According to researchers worldwide, plants can increase employee productivity by 12 percent, boost innovative thinking, problem-solving skills, absorb up to five decibels of sound, and eat nasty toxins swirling around any indoor environment.”
You don’t have to go to the extreme that the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee does for their staff and visitors. It has 12 acres of indoor space with approximately 18,000 plants to be enjoyed, according to Plants at Work. The organization does report, however, that plants have these effects:
* Reaction times to a computer program are increased by 12 percent when plants were present as opposed to when they were absent (study by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington).
* Employees exhibit a more upbeat, creative state of mind when plants are present since plants produce positive emotions and improve focus (several European case studies and academic research).
* “Adequate installation of interior plants in a sealed office structure could save businesses $258 billion by improving air quality. Various studies show that the air in sealed buildings is often 10 times more polluted than the air outside due to toxic emissions from building materials, systems, molds, and bacteria.
* Plants reduce toxins from the environment. “They can suck these [toxic] chemicals out of the air,” says Dr. Billy C. Wolverton of the Environmental Research Laboratory at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Picayune, Mississippi. Plants clean contaminated air by absorbing office pollutants into their leaves and transmitting the toxins to their roots where they are transformed into food for the plant, he adds.
Plants and indoor trees may be the answer to brightening up your workplace and providing both physical and emotional benefits to your employees.
Whether your budget allows for corporate plant services, or you organize a volunteer task force of employees with green thumbs to determine what types of plants will fare best in your work environment, think about incorporating some green into your work location.
Visit Plants at Work to find additional research studies, white papers, and suggestions regarding the best types of plants for different light situations and humidity levels.