September is Irish Heart Month. Perhaps yours is one of the many businesses taking part, encouraging the workforce to get their cardiac muscles into shape by improving their diets and embracing exercise. But habits are entrenched and extremely resilient to change. Plan B? There is a much easier and more effective way to enhance your collective heart health: Introduce some new indoor plants.
A growing number of studies conclude that the mere presence of plants in an office makes a significant difference to employee wellbeing.
The USA’s National Centre for Biotechnology Information actively promotes workday “Nature Contact” – healthful exposure to the outdoors or outdoor-like elements in buildings where people live and work. The fact is, no matter how much security we get from the “roof over our heads” the outdoors is in our DNA. Exposure to Nature is good for our hearts, in every sense of the word.
Office plants offer a convenient way to bring Nature indoors. With dramatic results. NCBI experiments with introducing office plants revealed that they make staff feel less stressed and less susceptible to general health complaints. People that shared space with plants reported feeling more vitality, energy and positivity and were less prone to fatigue and sleep disturbances.
By reducing stress plants curtail the release of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood. These “fight or flight” hormones make everything feel like an imminent threat, squeezing the heart, pushing up the blood pressure, provoking knee-jerk reactions and compounding stress. Not good for employee health or business decision-making.
Plants somehow divest you of part of this daily stress. By connecting you to the wider world they have a power to subconsciously relax you, make you feel you are breathing cleaner air, remind you of freer times.
People intuitively sense that contact with plants is restorative and calming. Research by Liverpool University concludes that plants can make employees perceive their company as a better place to work. They discovered that occupants of planted offices feel less pressured, more productive, healthier and more creative than occupants of non-planted offices. Indoor plants and trees are “positive distractions” that improve workplace quality and productivity.
Used in open-plan offices plants have a particularly important role in overcoming perceived sacrifices of privacy. Staff agreed that plants made the office more pleasant and informal and this seemed to reduce their need for high privacy levels (Goodrich).
Plants go way beyond “brightening up” or “adding a bit of colour” to an office. They truly give us heart, inspiring us to bigger and better things. According to a major study of the Dutch tax authority they also boost concentration and wellbeing, especially for all-day computer users. Creative teams, too, benefit from the fact that plants can inspire wide-screen thinking and a broader perspective. Which is why landscaped indoor break areas are so prevalent in the most innovative tech companies of today.
Irish Heart Month is a great time to kickstart programs to improve workplace wellbeing. But if you’re looking for results that will last longer than a month-long burst of dieting and exercise think: office plants. And, if you want to further gladden your heart, you can now get business plants that are 100% maintenance-free. That’s right – Our preserved Mummie Plants are even better stress-reducers than ordinary office plants. Call us now on 01 296 4540 to find out more.