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  • Writer's pictureThe Just Audit team

Part 7: Creating green spaces in the workplace



There have been many studies on the advantages of adding plants to office environments, with claims of plants providing a 15% rise in productivity, boosting creativity and seeing 1.6 fewer sick days per year. The potential air purifying qualities of plants may even reduce incidences of ‘sick building syndrome’ so it’s not surprising that workplaces are considering ditching minimalism for a greener approach.

[Source: Royal Horticultural Society]


WHY?

 

Before we launch into the many wonderful ways in which you can introduce green space at work, we need to address the reasons why it should be on your agenda…

 

To inspire relaxation and calm: having a variety of plants around you while you work can lower your stress levels and introduce a peaceful dimension as well as appeal to our different senses. It’s an easy way to bring nature inside.

 

Aesthetics: plants look great! Foliage adds interest and will liven up the dullest of spaces. It can even provide inspiration and stimulate creative thinking. A work premises with plants is more welcoming to visitors and reflects a sense of pride. Bold plants positioned at either side of your entrance always look fancy!

 

For better air quality: it’s true, plants can purify the air, remove pollutants and increase oxygen levels. In today’s offices that are used less than in pre-Covid times, having a number of plants in your workspace will help to keep the air fresher and cleaner.

 

To create an outdoor meeting space: if you have the space to dedicate to an outdoor meeting space it’s an inspiring and alternative way to hold meetings and it also provides somewhere to take breaks during the day. We need to make the most of any opportunities to be outside in the UK so it’s great if you have a tidy, planted outdoor area complete with table and chairs.  If the area is large and would prove expensive to plant, why not consider throwing around a few ‘bee bombs’ that do all the work themselves and create a beautiful, natural wildflower space.

 

To enjoy a shared purpose: working together in small teams to create greener spaces is a lesson in harmonious and productive planning, delegating, designing and maintaining a shared area.

 

To lower the noise levels: use plants for screening and noise absorption. It’s amazing what a few well-placed plants can do to reduce the buzz and chatter of a well-populated room.

 

For privacy: plants can offer an informal way of screening and zoning areas within a work area. You can add structures for plants to grow against or simply use large statement plants for instant effect. A living wall is ideal – they can be fiddly to set up so a moss based one with a few succulents and hardy plants would work well. These provide excellent focal points in an entrance or meeting space too.

 

WHICH PLANTS?

 

According to social enterprise The Glasshouse, the biggest challenge for indoor plants, particularly in offices is a lack of natural light. Also, they need to be sited away from heat sources where they might dry out. Also, once they’re in their best position, they need to be left there so some initial education might be needed so your plants aren’t moved around randomly.

 

Pick a few species of plant that are hardy and easy to look after. Nominate one person to be in charge of watering so they don’t suffer from under or over watering. Keep them clean with a light wipe over every now and again – this will ensure their best health and that they continue to look good. Also, any dead leaves will need to be removed. No one wants to see a sad plant!

 

Groups of plants look better than odd ones dotted around and why not pick pots and containers with intention – bold/corporate/muted/natural colours – to reflect the general scheme and feel of your offices? You can also hang trailing plants too – just make sure they don’t overhang anything electrical so watering isn’t a hazard.

 

A few ideas for office plants include:

 

Spider plants (don’t need much watering)

Cheese plants (big statement pieces)

Ferns and palms (great for the wow factor)

Peace lily (you’ll see it droop when it needs water)

Snake plant (bold and dramatic)

Chinese evergreen (colourful leaves)

Succulents (very hardy!)

Aspidistra (another very hardy plant)

Weeping fig

Dracaena

 

 

References:


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