Last week marked National Plants at Work Week in the UK, an annual initiative designed to raise awareness about the benefits plants and interior landscaping can have in the workplace. Not only do plants brighten up a space, they can make us feel closer to the natural world, which can have a positive impact on health, wellbeing and productivity.
It stems from a concept called “biophilia”, which is humanity’s innate need to connect with nature via their senses – i.e. looking at a view outside or feeling the texture of a natural material under foot. ‘Bringing the outside in’ can help contribute to a more visually appealing workplace as well as positively impact your business’s bottom line, with people more likely to work productively and take less time off work.
The addition of plants is a great way to kick start your biophilic-design journey. Despite these benefits, some employers are still reluctant to have plants in the office, seeing them as high maintenance ‘nice to haves’, rather than features that can transform a workplace.
To make things easier, there are options that require minimal upkeep, but still contribute to a natural, biophilic environment. Succulents are the perfect example, relying on their thickened and fleshy leaves to retain water in arid climates or dry soil conditions. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, succulents are a great office companion.
Minimal maintenance for maximum results
Most succulents come from dry areas like deserts, so are acclimatised to sunshine and minimal water. Cacti, jade plants and varieties of agave do particularly well in warmer conditions. Even some species of orchid, which can be considered part of the succulent family, do well in high sunlight areas. When it comes to upkeep, most succulents can survive on being watered once a week, which helps prevent their foliage shrivelling.
No light? No problem
Easy to take care of and maintaining a healthy state all year round, certain succulents also lend themselves to those office buildings that don’t receive much natural light. Zamioculcas Zamifolia (ZZ plant) and Sansevieria (Snake Plant) are renowned for being able to thrive in darker conditions.
If you’re concerned that a succulent won’t be attractive enough, there are a few that will produce flowers:
- Orchids – will flower into a wide variety of dazzling colours
- Cacti – many varieties bloom and produce very colourful flowers
- Euphorbias – will produce richly coloured leaves and bright pink flowers
These blooms may not happen on a regular basis, so it’s worth checking with a plant expert if you want to find varieties which flower more regularly.
If you love the idea of succulents but still think maintaining them will cause problems, then artificial plants could be the answer. There are some very authentic artificial succulent options out there, which will bring similar benefits in terms of brightening up a workspace and facilitating that connection between your employees and nature.
The most valuable assets in the workplace are the people in it, so taking steps to make the physical environment more accommodating for your workers makes good business sense. From succulents to artificial, there are a variety of options employers can choose to reap the benefits that plants can provide at minimal effort and cost. In the wake of National Plants at Work Week, we are calling on all employers to consider how they can use plants to brighten up their workplace, and their employees’ outlook, this summer.
For more information about the steps you can take, contact your local Ambius office today.