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The impact of vegetation on the well-being of office employees

The impact of vegetation on the well-being of office employees

Well-being of employees depends largely on the presence of plants in the office area. Studies conducted in cooperation with the Polish Green Building Council and the Silesian University of Technology have shown that  the presence of plants significantly affects the well-being and comfort of work. 10 large companies, 1444 plants and 12 weeks - so much was needed to make a credible report based on the so-called perception survey and come to inspiring conclusions. What features affect well-being, especially as for the office work, and how do green walls help to ensure them?


What is well-being and why is it worth taking care of?


Well-being is an impression of holistic comfort: feeling joy, overcoming stress, mental resilience, care for health. There are a lot of aspects of the well-being  - the theory developed at the Gallup Institute places special emphasis on motivation and sense of meaning, relations, finances and physical health, including the energy level.

There is no doubt that well-being of employees affects business performance. That is why it is necessary to take care of the well-being of our own staff, but instead of limiting to single health promotion  actions, it is worth reaching for more systemised methods. In modern offices, the presence of a large number of plants is a  standard practice. See in what aspects biophilic design can affect employee comfort.


1. Reducing the stress level

Chronic anxiety is something undesirable in every area of life, including work. Currently, it bothers us extremely severely due to the pandemic - we are worried not only about our official duties, but also about our own and our loved ones' health. Fortunately, these feelings can be alleviated. Research carried out by the Polish Green Building Council and the Silesian University of Technology showed that after introducing plants into the office, employees less often complained about stress.  Earlier, 32% employees complained about it, and in the presence of vegetation - 23%. Greenery effectively calms and relaxes, and at the same time improves mood and well-being, which was noted by as many as 84% of respondents. The presence of plants helps to reduce nervous tension and improves mood.


2. Improvement of air quality and humidity

A vertical garden can also change the air quality. Plants produce oxygen, optimise humidity in the room, and often support air purification processes, e.g. by neutralising harmful chemical compounds. It goes without saying that all these aspects are extremely important in building employee comfort. 84% of respondents confirmed the positive impact of green walls on the office air quality; no firmly negative responses were reported. During the testing of vegetation, the percentage of employees satisfied increased from 46 to 79%, while after removing the green walls only 26% of respondents declared satisfaction with the air quality. 

The indisputable humidity optimisation is a topic for a separate discussion. Before introducing plants into the office, 60% of the respondents complained about dry air, and thanks to the presence of greenery, the level dropped to 6 and 2% (!). In turn, after removing the vertical gardens, as much as 80% of employees noticed the problem. Moreover, these observations were confirmed by the studies of the actual level of humidity - it was proved that the green walls increase the relative humidity in the air by approx. 5 - 10%. The source of humidity are both the plants and water (evaporating from the water tank, but also from the soil). Thus, living furniture with built-in vegetation act as natural air humidifiers. 


3. Stimulation of creativity

Living in isolation from nature leads to depression, irritation and lack of concentration, and as a result to a decrease in creativity and efficiency. As it is easy to guess, placing green walls in the workplace will bring exactly the opposite effect. The 2015 Human Spaces Report argues that the presence of nature can increase creativity by as much as 15%. That is why when arranging an office, out of concern for the well-being, one should remember about plants. What is more, employees who took part in the surveys conducted by the Polish Green Building Council noticed the positive impact of green walls on the effectiveness of their work (as much as 62% of respondents; 34% considered this impact neutral).


4. Better room acoustics

Nothing  irritates office employees more than noise - annoying  sounds, loud phone calls and general turmoil effectively make it difficult to focus on their own responsibilities. Distraction is one side of the coin; another thing is the fear of being overheard and the lack of privacy (about which in a moment). Green walls help suppress the office "buzz", absorb and reflect sound waves and allow to adjust the acoustics in rooms. The automatic irrigation system makes a slight noise only 3-4 times a week for 2 minutes, and the vertical gardens ensure permanent noise reduction.


5. Implementation of the need for privacy

In the case of green walls, we can talk not only about the acoustic, but also about a purely mechanical barrier, thanks to the 4Nature Basic  product line - green, mobile furniture with a built-in vertical garden. Sliding walls made of live plants can be placed anywhere in the room, also in such a way as to separate groups of office employees. Plant furniture act then  exactly as partitions, but they are much more aesthetic and in addition to separating space, they also have a number of practical functions. In our offer there are also  models installed on cabinets, which ensure the desired privacy, as well.

The above examples prove that  introduction of plants in the arrangement of modern offices allows for comprehensive care of well-being of employees. The overall improvement in work comfort makes the staff feel safe and cared for, which in turn strengthens the positive image of the employer.

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