Plants have always been a part of on urban culture in Zambia with our tree lined main streets, although these may not be as obvious now. There was was also an appreciation of indoor plants going back as far as the 1980s with snake plant and money plant becoming mainstays of interior decor.
In the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a resurgence of this interest. Globally, among the other interests that people developed, we observed a boom in gardening and specifically in indoor gardening. Plants became the constant companion of people who were scared and isolated, providing a welcome distraction and a sense of stability during the chaos of the pandemic. Even now, as the pandemic dies down, we continue to appreciate the therapeutic value of plants in our homes and appreciate how this can positively impact our office culture.
Incorporating indoor plants in the office can have a transformative effect on workplace culture, leading to increased productivity, creativity employee satisfaction.
A study by Nieuwenhuis et. al. conducted in the UK and Netherlands, on the Relative Benefits of Green Versus Lean Office Space, confirms that plants can indeed increase productivity helping staff focus by, reducing carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the air. Offices where indoor plants have been used have increased productivity, in some instances by over 15%.
Coincidentally, the conditions which allow plants to thrive such as good light and good ventilation are the same factors which allow people to work well. Through respiration, plants filter out carbon dioxide, a gas which in excess can lead to drowsiness in humans. This improvement in atmosphere can also translate into reduced absenteeism as people are happy to work in the improved office environment.
Improved employee morale and satisfaction
Another indirect effect of the plants is improved employee satisfaction. Studies show that just being around plants in nature improves our mood and mental resilience, so much so, that gardening is used as a form of therapy. Sub-consciously, our animal brain relaxes when it sees green leaves because it suggest that food and water are near. Plants make us feel more grounded, more in touch with nature and with each other.
Plants also communicate a sense of well-being and suggest that the company is concerned about their environment and is willing to invest in their comfort by beautifying the space with plants.
What your organisation do to green up their spaces
The need to bring nature into our urban spaces grows more urgent as the city grows. Our sparse office blocks of cement and aluminium, in the CBD, shopping malls or office parks do not tempt one to linger or enjoy the space. The impact of greening your office may make your office an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle for you and your team.
How to make plants part of your work culture
Make it part of a 'going green campaign' where the team agrees on ways to be more eco-friendly.
Group plants into clusters - group plants together for maximum impact.
Include plants or gardens in staff areas - show employees that they are valued by bringing nature into their spaces.
Consider desk plants - giving each staff member a desk plant to take care of allows them to have something living they can connect with and nurture in the office.
If the task seems overwhelming consider hiring a plant rental company to assist with plant maintenance so you do not have to dedicate staff to plant care.