Over the years, the office design has widely changed, driven by the different times we live in. Gone are the days where the office design was basically, gray walls and rows of cubicles.
In today’s modern office space there are a few things to expect: open floor plans, motivational messaging, an impressive array of snacks, and in many cases lush office greenery.
Exit grey walls, enter walls draped in greenery, succulents on window sills, potted plants on desks the picture is far removed from traditional office space.
While the greenery brings a fresh breath of aesthetic value to today’s office design, it is also proving to be more than a trend or well-timed business opportunity and its benefits are multifold.
Office plants help increase productivity and replenish focus at the workplace. People spend longer time in spaces with biophilic designs, and workplace happiness improves when natural elements are introduced.
Some of the most successful companies in the world have realized the multifold benefits and are incorporating indoor plants and courtyard landscaping into their office layouts.
For example, when Apple announced plans for its Silicon Valley campus, the designs involved planting almost 9,000 trees. Inside Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, you’ll find “spheres” of more than 40,000 plants from around the world.
Coworking Spaces have not been left behind, in Lisbon, Portugal, Second Home, a coworking space for creative companies has gone all-in on biophilic design, which encourages a connection between people and nature.
The space is brimming with more than 2,000 individual plants and trees from 100 different species–such as tillandsias, philodendrons, and monsteras–the collection is watered and manicured by a team of local gardeners. And, of course, greenery is a staple in all Nairobi Garage coworking spaces.
Here are some of the advantages of having plants in your workplace:
Plants Reduce Stress: There are days in work where the environment can be stressful. This is the same with coworking spaces; the mere thought of a nearing deadline can be stressful for most people. Fortunately, studies have concluded that having more greenery in a work surrounding can help ease the stress that we feel and be more at ease while working.
Having plants around your workspace can also help you improve your mood because they have a psychological effect that combats negative feelings such as depression and anxiety which can make you more productive.
Improved Business Image: Surveys have presented that offices that have plants inside give potential clients the feeling of being warm, welcoming, and stable. Additionally, offices that have indoor plants also experience an improvement in their employee retention rate simply because the greenery improved the office’s aesthetic appeal.
Air Purification: According to a NASA study, having indoor plants as part of your office design can improve indoor air quality. This type of plant can combat minor health issues by reducing the carbon dioxide levels indoors, increasing indoor humidity and reduce the amount of pollutants that can be found in workspaces. Additionally, plants absorb carbon dioxide and correspondingly release oxygen which improves air quality.
They help to reduce noise levels: By absorbing sounds, plants help to reduce the distracting effects of background office chatter. Positioning larger plant pots, in multiple locations in the edges and corners of a room has a great positive benefit to your office design , according to a 1995 paper by researchers at London South Bank University.
Plants can also boost creativity: The 2015 Human Spaces report also found that employees whose office design included natural elements scored 15% higher for creativity than those whose offices did not include such elements. Attention restoration theory suggests that looking at nature and even just images of nature can shift the brain into a different processing mode, making employees feel more relaxed and better able to concentrate.
So next time you are working from a coworking space or even looking to spice up your own workspace at home, here are some interesting plants that you should consider and a few tips on how to maintain them:
Snake plants grow in a vertical, compact fashion, reducing mess and taking up a neat corner on a desk or in an office. While these plants flourish in indirect sunlight, they will also grow successfully.
The plants have leaves that can grow fairly tall and attract the eye in the coworking space. It’s a low-maintenance plant that also improves air quality. They grow in a vertical, compact fashion, reducing mess and taking up a neat corner on a desk or in an office.
The snake plants work best for low-light office plants that don’t need direct sunlight
Mostly abbreviated as the ZZ, this plant evokes feelings of paradise, with fern-shaped leaves in a deep, succulent green. However, low light suits the ZZ plant best, a species that hates direct sunlight and requires extra watering when placed too close to windows.
Just like snake plants, the ZZ works best for low-light office plants that don’t need direct sunlight.
Bromeliads may require a bit more maintenance at first to bloom, as they are notorious for taking their time. But once they bloom, aside from the occasional watering, they require little care. With their striking colours and beautiful blooms, this plant is perfect for reception areas or the corridors when it comes to your office design
Choosing a healthy bamboo plant from the outset is key to its survival in an office environment. Opt for a plant that’s bright, vibrant green all over, without blemishes or yellowing. Plus, the pot should be at least two inches larger than the diameter of the plant’s stem.
Bamboo plants can be grown in soil or water. For those in water, pebbles and water should be changed at least once a week to prevent rotting. For those in soil, don’t use too much soil or fertilizer and you should water the plant just enough that the soil is moist but not oversaturated.
Peace Lily, is one of the best air purifier plants in your office design plan. It can grow in low office lighting, ideal for spaces that lack big windows. The plant can survive under office fluorescents or indirect sunlight. These plants like humidity, so try to maintain moistness in the soil and keep them away from heaters and air-conditioning units. Regular pruning is essential, but they both offer a pop of lush greenery and bring a touch of the outdoors.
Ferns are a go-to for vertical gardens, as they’re durable, easy to grow, and resistant to changes in humidity whereas other air plants are more fickle. Ferns thrive in dappled sunlight and are best positioned near a window that gets the early morning or afternoon sun.
Choose a sand-heavy, free-draining compost so the roots don’t rot, but make sure it’s kept moist by watering it a little every day. Ferns are built for humidity and should be spritzed with water regularly and kept away from air vents and heaters.
For hanging plants, philodendrons are a striking option with vines that drape over the side of the pot and hang down to reach the floor. These plants are easy to grow and adapt easily to most conditions. They can be moved around the office, inside and outside, and won’t show signs of distress. Ideally, keep your philodendron in a spot that receives ample, indirect natural light. Like lilies, philodendrons will tell you when they’re thirsty and their leaves start to droop. If your philodendron is growing slowly and producing pale leaves, supplement your fertilizer with a dose of calcium and magnesium.
The weeping fig thrives best in indirect sunlight and does not like to be moved—it’s best to find a spot relatively close to an east-facing window and keep it there. Ensure the soil stays moist, but not saturated, and fertilize your fig regularly through the spring and summer. The weeping fig will drop leaves if it’s under stress, and, in these cases, it’s a good idea to supplement the fertilizer with a little magnesium and manganese.
Avoid spraying succulents with water if the leaves pick up dust, it’s best to wipe them gently with a damp cloth. Succulents need light to thrive and are best suited to windowsills or desks with direct sunlight. Remember to rotate the plant every week or so, ensuring every angle receives ample sunshine.
Succulents such as aloe vera, pincushions, and zebra plants will thrive on a windowsill.
It’s time to water your succulent when the first inch of soil is dry to the touch, or about every seven to 10 days. (This is necessary more frequently in the summer.) To water succulents effectively, soak the soil with water until the excess runs out of the pot’s drainage holes. Terra-cotta pots are ideal for growing succulents, and their rustic colouring adds to the aesthetic.
Spider plants produce a rosette of long, thin, arched foliage that is solid green or variegated with white. These easy-to-grow houseplants look especially nice in a hanging basket and were a favourite in Victorian-era households.
Spider plants were once highlighted by NASA for their reported air-purifying ability, though a large number of plants would be required to reap any benefits in the home. Nonetheless, they are a classic and attractive plant to add to the workspace.
Anthuriums pass for little cute desk plants. A low-maintenance, decorative addition to any office, anthuriums flower year-round in the right conditions and produce small, simple flowers in red, pink, white, purple, and yellow. These plants can survive in low-light conditions; however, they’ll produce more flowers in moderate, indirect sunlight.