Returning to the workplace as lockdown restrictions ease is giving people the opportunity to assess their working environment. In addition to creating a Covid-secure, safe environment, what else can be done to improve people's mental health and wellbeing as they adjust to being outside their homes to work for the first time in over a year?
Human resources website HR News suggests that the addition of plants and greenery is one way of helping. As we have recently seen with Mental Health Awareness week, and its theme of Nature, feeling connected to the natural world offers people benefits for the physical and mental wellbeing. Introducing more plants is a positive way to reduce stress and improve mood. Plants can also offer a warm welcome to visitors in public-facing areas.
And in the same way that trees are known to capture carbon from the atmosphere, house plants work to clean the air of pollutants inside buildings. NASA's Clean Air Study found the following varieties are particularly successful in trapping chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene:
Dragon tree (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii')
Corn plant (Dracaena massangeana)
Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii)
Pot mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Ficus (Ficus benjamina)
Read H R News's findings about how workplace design can impact office workers' wellbeing here.
The RHS website is full of information about plants, both indoor and outdoor.
NASA's report can be found here.