Greening Your Space Has Benefits

Vol. 16 No. 3

PSN eletter vol15 no3 greenoffice

Long winters can impact our physical and mental health in numerous ways. Colder weather keeps most of us indoors more often, limiting our exercise and activity. Less sunlight affects our Vitamin D and mood stability. Seasonal affective disorder impacts an estimated 10%–20% of the population each year to varying degrees. Six percent of the population is in fact hospitalized each year with severe symptoms. However, there are ways to combat the season’s disruptions, with one of the simplest solutions being greening your workspace.

Indoor plants offer more than aesthetic appeal. They are proven to purify the air; add humidity, which helps combat respiratory distresses; decrease fatigue; limit colds and flu-like symptoms; and sharpen focus. Yes, by adding greenery to your spaces, you can dramatically improve your health and overall productivity. But just how many plants does it take to achieve these health benefits?

According to, for every 1,800 square-feet, 15 to 18 plants in 6-to-8 inch pots are needed, or one large plant every 129 square feet. For classrooms and offices, plants should be positioned so everyone can see them. It is proven that in working spaces such as classrooms and offices, 70% greater attentiveness was exhibited when plants were within view. And no, fake plants do not provide the same benefits. If your office is decorated with plastic greenery, swap them out with some living options.

Some of the best plants recommended for indoor spaces:

  • Spider plant—Purifies the air rapidly and removes formaldehyde (found in rugs, vinyl, and grocery bags).
  • Dragon tree—Purifies the air and removes toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene (found in man-made synthetic fibers, inks, solvents, and paint—typically found in high concentrations in study areas), toluene, and xylene.
  • Gerbera daisy—Releases oxygen at night and purifies the air by removing benzene and trichloroethylene (also found in man-made synthetic fibers, inks, solvents, and paints).
  • English ivy—Removes benzene from the air.
  • Boston fern—Humidifies air.
  • Snake plant—Purifies air and removes formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide produced by fuel-burning appliances.
  • Peace lily—Removes mold from the air.
  • Succulents, orchids, and bromeliads—Releases oxygen into the air continuously (at night, most plants stop photosynthesis, consuming oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide).
Picking The Perfect Office Plant

For those with green thumbs or a passion for crafty projects, Pinterest is busting at the seams with ideas for decorating living spaces with greenery. From living cubical wall ideas to smaller desktop options, there is something to inspire everyone.

Additional ISM resources of interest
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 1 No. 5 Garden Safety Guidelines

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