Considerable academic research, which shows that plants can
improve health in the workplace, has been carried out. The
research has shown that indoor plants reduce complaints of minor
ailments, generally improve the feeling of well-being and also
reduce stress levels.
Offices in Bavaria promote plants
During a two year study in Bavaria, Engelbert Kötter working on behalf of the
Bavarian State Ministry of Nourishment, Agriculture and Forestry, found that
plants in offices improved employees’ perceptions of their well-being as well as
improving the comfort-factor of the offices.
Taking 94 offices and 139 office employees, Kötter introduced plants into the
offices and measured humidity and light levels which are important for plants
and people; he also assessed the workers’ perceptions of change to the climate
of the rooms and to their own well-being by means of a series of
Kötter also addressed the issues of noise reduction by plants and dispelled fears
that plants introduced dust and germs to the environment.
Central heating or air conditioning can dry the air, which can cause respiratory
and skin irritation. The optimum humidity level for comfort is about 60%.
Kötter’s findings showed that common houseplants such as Spathiphyllum
(Peace Lily), African violet, Epipremum (Devil’s Ivy) and Ficus pumila raised the
humidity levels by 2 – 5% making the office atmosphere more comfortable for
Office employees also recorded that the offices with plants felt fresher, made
they feel less stressed, made the working feel more human and in general
seemed to up-grade their environment.
With improved conditions and perceptions, office employees will enjoy their
work situation better; happy employees = more output and happy bosses!