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It has been proven that green plants can have a great impact on workplace health issues. In his article, "Improving Environmental Conditions in the Workplace", Hayley Jacobs discusses the benefits of adding indoor plants.
Whether in a home, an office building, a shopping mall, or a resturant, more than 90 percent of an American´s life is spent indoors, and there are various factors that contribute to the quality of our indoor environment. A decrease in worker productivity due to environmental conditions in the workplace is a common threat to a company´s bottom line.
Facility managers are often held responsible for ensuring a healthy environment for building occupants. From lighting and thermal comfort, to volatile organic compounds and noise, there are easy ways to improve workplace health and safety and conditions for employees which could, in turn, increase a company´s economic bottom line while decreasing the impact the building has on the environment.
Along with decreasing noise levels, there are more benefits to adding green plants to a workplace. The presence of indoor plants in the office is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also helps increase worker productivity, reduce stress, and improve air quality.
According to a Texas A&M University and Surrey University study, participants also reported feeling more attentive when green plants were present. Participants who worked in an office environment with indoor plants were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in a building with no plants.
An office plant can also improve the indoor environmental quality and thus health and safety in the workplace. Research from the Environmental Laboratory of John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi showed that rooms with plants contain 50 to 60 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without plants. The indoor plants clean the office air by absorbing pollutants into their leaves and transmitting the toxins to their roots, where they are turned into food for the office plant. With cleaner office air, building occupants are less likely to be sick - increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism. In office buildings where sick building syndrome is common, employees should each have a plant within six to eight cubic feet of where they spend most of the day.
The article "Improving Environmental Conditions in the Workplace" by Hayley Jacobs was published in the Facility Management Journal, July/August, 2008, and also posted on the Green Plants for Green Buildings website.
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