Greening the Office

by Mark
I would like to share my thoughts on healthy offices following on from our blog last week where Margie reviewed the ‘sit less’ workplace. Sitting is the new smoking according to public officials who claim we are facing a medical crisis. Topping off this inactivity are health issues resulting from poor air quality in the workspace with associated respiratory problems and other illnesses. Indoor plants play a big part in the solution and are not just for aesthetics. While fake plants might look the part (and be immune to neglect) they don’t hit the mark writes fellow architect, Ruth Newman, in Sourceable. She notes that according to a Norwegian study plants in a workplace reduce:
  • reported fatigue by 30%,
  • coughs, sore throats, stuffy noses and eye irritation by 24% and,
  • dry skin complaints by 23%.
[caption id="attachment_1558" align="alignnone" width="1100"]Image01 Image Source:[/caption] Introducing a ratio of 1 plant per 3 employees significantly improves air quality in the office. CO2 can be reduced by 50% as well as a reduction in the dust, bacteria and mould, which would otherwise be inhaled by employees. Dust levels in the workplace can be reduced by up to 20 per cent when plants are introduced. There are also man made toxins within an office created by plastics, paint, furniture, carpets, and certain cleaning products that will be reduced significantly by plants. (CIPHR Blog August 2013) Plants help reduce distractions due to office noise. Strategically placed, plants quiet down an office. A small indoor hedge placed around a workspace will reduce noise by 5 decibels. The positive contribution of interior plants to sound absorption has been well documented in numerous studies including work done in Oxford and the University of Surrey, England. ( Separate research has demonstrated that plants in the workplace can help to relax employees, lower stress levels and boost productivity. Keeping plants in an office requires some forethought due to environmental conditions such as air conditioning or periods where the office is empty.  Make sure your office gets it's greens! [caption id="attachment_1560" align="alignnone" width="1620"]Image Source: Image Source:[/caption]
Greening the Office