We spend a great part of our life at work. The surrounding space should inspire us, soothe us, and at the same time stimulate us to act. It must allow the exchange of information, and at the same time it must not be too noisy; we should feel relaxed in it, but also concentrated. Interior designed skilfully and enriched with greenery helps to achieve such a complex effect. Designing office space is a very responsible task - if the working space is boring, impersonal and devoid of vegetation, it will be most likely detrimental to people staying in it.
Fortunately, the times when offices were cramped, non-functional and deprived of life, are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Both employees and employers are becoming more and more aware of the necessity to reach the work-life balance. Companies, corporations and various institutions are becoming conscious of the benefits resulting from ergonomic design of the office space. For the employed, it means a higher comfort of everyday work, and for the companies themselves - higher work efficiency of employees as well as their productivity and a significant increase in motivation among employees. According to the report published in June 2018 by the Polish Green Building Council PLGBC, vegetation is an extremely important element of the office space. Let us discuss a few aspects in which plants affect the ergonomics of work. Find out what a green wall in the office can change!
Over half of respondents surveyed by the PLGBC believe that there is not enough vegetation in their office surroundings. Living greenery in offices has not only aesthetic features, but also has a real impact on the well-being and physical efficiency of employees (also by providing adequate oxygenation of the body, which is presented further). Plants - as every living organism - emit characteristic energy waves. Their multi-layered aura may have a different effect depending on what species are in the vertical garden. Greenery may reduce stress in the office, soothe, refresh, energise, relax and improve the mood. It is worth adding that people need negative ions in their environment, the shortage of which is noticeable especially in closed rooms. A short-lasting excess of positive ions is enough to feel a significant deterioration in well-being and an increase in nervous tension. Whereas, most plants, including ferns (e.g. nephrolepis, asplenium or phlebodium), negatively ionise the air - just place them in the vertical garden to enjoy their oxygenating and anti-depressant properties.
Secretion of oxygen by plants is the most obvious physical aspect that is associated with the presence of greenery in the work space. Oxygen is essential to us for proper functioning, and the fact that it is produced directly at our desks has a very good effect on our body. These natural air purifiers also determine its quality on other levels: they support the process of removing some impurities, provide an adequate level of hydration and neutralise the presence of dangerous chemical compounds. Whereas, the amount of oxygen, air humidity and room temperature are some of the key factors that determine the comfort of the office interior. As many as 28% of respondents surveyed by the PLGBC admitted to being dissatisfied with the quality of air in their work space. There is no better method to care for these aspects than by introducing vegetation to the offices. As designers of green walls, to set up a vertical garden, we can use such surfaces that sometimes seem impossible to be arranged with living plants. It is beneficial to use it by investing in the suitable plants to the office!
A green wall not only improves the well-being and air quality in the office, but also soothes minds of employees, ensuring them total well-being. It has long been proven that nature focuses our gaze, and that such visual contact relaxes us. The vertical garden in the office space will provide a soothing view of the elements of nature and allow to rest your eyes, which look at the monitor for many hours. In addition to the sense of sight, green walls also act on the sense of smell (providing a beautiful, fresh scent), and in the case of structures with useful plants (herbs such as basil, mint, lemon balm, sage, as well as tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, wild strawberries and others) - also on taste and touch (even for interesting textures). Sense of hearing cannot be omitted - after all, plants contribute to the desired soundproofing of interiors, thus eliminating the excessive noise in the office.
According to respondents, noise is one of the basic problems hindering work in offices. Poor acoustics in the office makes that employees complain about loud telephone conversations and discussions that disturb the rhythm of their work. At the same time, the problem works the other way round - a lot of people do not feel comfortable with the idea that their conversations could be overheard. Greenery in the office reduces unwanted noise - plants reflect, disperse and absorb sound waves, and at the same time create the possibility of separating one space from another. Thus, they allow to shape the acoustics of the office space carefully.
A diverse office space, varied with greenery, not only provides employees with adequate comfort, but also has a stimulating effect on them, increasing their work efficiency. Appropriate office arrangement in this respect contributes to the improvement of concentration, increases the level of cooperation, as well as increases motivation and creativity. No wonder that vertical gardens are today a showcase of innovative, responsible companies that are familiar with concepts such as work life balance or well-being. The presence of vegetation in the office affects the ergonomics of work and may decide on a competitive advantage even when recruiting - more and more often image of the office space and organisation of the workplace in the office prove to be very important factors that may attract candidates for a given position. If people feel good at their workplace and have the impression that their well-being and health are taken care of, employee motivation is increased, they are better at fulfilling their duties, less likely to benefit from leaves, they are more productive and their creativity at work is increased. As a result, not only they but also their employers benefit from such a solution.