We spend so much of our lives at work, it's vital to create an environment that's pleasant both aesthetically and emotionally. A drab office isn’t just an eyesore; studies show that better work environments increase productivity and decrease overhead expenses, contributing to an improved bottom line.
Many of the things we'd expect would make a work environment more pleasant — comfortable temperature, controlled noise levels, less crowding, ergonomic furniture — do have their benefits. What might be unexpected for many, though, are the findings that flowers and natural elements provide office benefits as well.
Some specific elements that can boost the experience at the office — and home office — include doing the following:
1. Bring the outdoors inside.
There is a connection between humans and the natural environment, an "instinctive bond between humans and other living systems." In fact, there's even a word for this innate feeling people have for nature: biophilia. Bringing flowers, plants, and other natural greenery into an office is a great first step for providing the contact we need with the great outdoors.
2. Focus on color in your plants.
It's no surprise that color can have a profound effect on our moods, but did you know it can also increase focus and accuracy? Adding bright flowers and flowering plants to your work space can seriously boost your productivity as well as guiding your mental state through the day.
There are many areas of psychology that associate color with certain emotions or the ability to produce emotional responses. In my time living with and loving flowers, I've come to find that blue blooms promote promote calm, mental clarity, and greater creative thinking, while red flowers encourage vitality, energy and ambition. Pink soothes negative feelings, yellow boosts alertness and clear thinking, and orange lifts moods and promotes self-esteem. Sounds like a lot of benefits from such a little thing, huh?
I've even brought these principles into my floral design business, creating bouquets for many moods and situations: tranquillity, exuberance, cheerfulness, gratitude, good fortune, and clarity. Each bouquet combines flowers that together increase a sense of good health and wellness.
3. Don't forget the air you breathe.
Better indoor air quality can help keep the immune system strong, decreasing sick days, but being able to breathe fresh air can also help to invigorate and brighten your day.
Although there are many high-tech ways to improve air quality, one refreshingly easy, DIY way is to bring flowers and plants into the office. Boston ferns, rubber plants, peace lily, English ivy, and palm trees top the list of the best plants for cleaning up indoor air pollutants, and many of these are even hardy enough to grow in rooms that don’t get a ton of sunlight.
For me, having flowers and greenery in my work space is a nonnegotiable, and I try to ensure my entire team is able to enjoy the benefits of plants and other natural elements in the office. I notice the difference being in a workplace that makes effort to bring the outdoors in, and the effects are beautiful.