As we move into February, the festive period is now but a distant memory in offices around the country. The decorations are back in the box and the Christmas tree has been whisked away.
But who’s to say you can’t brighten up the office with some greenery throughout the year? Research from the University of Queensland has found that being connected with nature has benefits for both our physical health and emotional wellbeing – and is linked to reduced stress, lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem and improved mood.
Here are some top tips for bolstering worker wellbeing with plants all year round:
1. Clever interior landscaping
A recent study showed that 70 per cent of Brits feel they have “lost touch with nature.” Many of us spend a great deal of our time in prescriptive and sterile environments, with little interaction with nature on a day-to-day basis. When Ambius polled office workers last summer, 63 per cent said they could not even see an indoor plant from their work station.
With the Christmas tree now hidden away for another year, it’s worth considering using other natural objects and materials in the workplace to reconnect employees with nature. The benefits of incorporating greenery into interior design are evident, with research demonstrating that it not only leads to an increase in workplace productivity but also an enhancement of wellbeing and health.
2. Easy care plants
So, what are the best plant options for the workplace?
New varieties of Aglaonema, such as “Creta”, are making an impact. It has brightly-coloured foliage in shades of red, cream and green, and is certainly a vibrant change from the more common varieties of the type, whilst still being robust and easy to look after. Air plants also look to be a popular choice throughout 2018. These varieties are very resilient and tolerant of indoor conditions, making them a perfect choice for the office.
3. Glass design and lighting
The materials used in office design can also help employees establish a link with nature. For example, glass is not only an aesthetically pleasing material for architecture; it also allows in plenty of natural light which studies have suggested can have an impact on workers’ productivity levels. What’s more, glass allows employees to enjoy a direct connection to the outside world by providing views of vegetation.
4. Feel serene with the colour green
Adding a splash of colour to a clinical or muted environment can be an inexpensive way to brighten up an office space and stimulate creativity and productivity. In 2018, we expect designers to strongly consider the colours used in the workplace and how their properties impact employees. Red, for example, provokes a lively reaction and is said to increase the heart rate and blood flow, driving enthusiasm. Green is likely to be a popular choice this year as it is the colour of abundance, refreshment and harmony. With its intrinsic links to ‘biophilia’, green can help employees remain calm and efficient.