Science shows why oxygen giving plants can be the easiest and healthiest home office productivity hack. If you’re working from home, you may want to consider this.
With COVID-19 lockdowns upon us, I’m glad to work from home on the internet. Others may be adjusting to this for the first time. Perhaps you have been setting up your home office workspace and it needs a bit of life in it. Something to brighten it up a bit. With being at home so much the number of plants on my desk has increased, again! Not only are they beautiful, but oxygen giving plants can help purify the air in your home office, helping you get the fresh air you need to think clearly and be productive when working from home. Fresh, clean air in our daily work environment helps improve our concentration and focus and therefore contributes to a more productive, healthier, happier you.
Ask Yourself: How clean and fresh is my office air?
Indoor air quality can be affected by dust, particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many everyday items in our homes, like paint, cleaning chemicals, disinfectants, furniture finishings, adhesives, cosmetics, aerosols and craft chemicals can all emit VOCs.
In the home office, equipment such as the inks in printers and copiers and even the paper can contribute to higher VOC levels. The levels of VOC emissions increase whilst these products are being used, but they can linger at elevated concentrations long after the initial exposure. Studies from the EPA have shown that indoor concentrations of VOCs can be 2 – 5 times higher than outdoor concentrations.
Are you suffering from poor air quality when you’re working from home?
Increased levels of VOC emissions in the air we breathe have been linked to eye, nose and throat irritations, headaches, mental fatigue, memory impairment and skin rashes. For asthmatics and people suffering with allergies, breathing clean air can be very important for their overall well-being.
Poor air quality has also been shown to negatively impact productivity, attentiveness and overall efficiency whilst working from home on the internet.
There is a simple solution to help home office workers
Opening a window is great, but in the heat of summer, when the air conditioning is going, or the cold of winter with heaters on, oxygen giving plants can play an important role in filtering air, reducing VOC levels and producing oxygen.
NASA studies have shown that certain indoor plants can remove 87% of air toxins in 24hrs. Plants are natural air filters, they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which is the opposite to what we do. And the more leaves a plant has, the greater its capacity to filter the air we breathe. There is even some evidence to suggest that soil microorganisms can contribute to filtering the air.
The significant productivity benefits of house plants for the home office
Plants in your home office are not only beautiful but can provide significant health benefits. The increased oxygen they provide has been shown to reduce mental fatigue, thus improving concentration and alertness. With greater concentration, you can be more focused and attentive to the task at hand, increasing overall productivity when working from home on the internet.
Plants can also ‘catch’ dust and particulates from the air which can be beneficial for asthmatics – just be sure to avoid plants with pollens or spores. And of course the air filtering leaves do a great job of removing some of those nasty VOCs from the air.
Are there any additional health benefits of house plants?
Being close to nature has a soothing effect on your nervous system and having an oxygen giving plant or two, in your home office can help reduce stress levels and boost your mood. Studies in hospital have shown that patients receiving treatments in spaces with plants had a greater feeling of general well-being, than those receiving treatments in spaces without plants, even though the physiological benefits of the treatment were the same for both groups.
Having nature around you promotes soothing feelings of comfort and happiness and caring for a living plant is a rewarding and purposeful exercise. Sometimes, when working from home gets overwhelming, a quick 5 minute break to tend to your plants can provide a little circuit breaker allowing you to then refocus and be more productive working from home.
So if you have recently started working long hours from your home office and want a quick and soothing productivity hack, get some house plants to not only brighten up your home work space but it may just help with your productivity, concentration levels and general feeling of well-being too! It’s true, oxygen giving plants can help make you happier and more productive when working from home.
Irene McLeish-Hill – leading house plant expert and consultant and home office green thumb.
Irene’s favorite color is green, which is no surprise because most plants have green leaves! She loves being outdoors on a picnic with her family, so bringing the outdoors indoors is a passion of hers and something that is bringing a lot of joy to both her and her daughters. You can find suggestions for oxygen giving plants and how to care for them at her website keephouseplantsalive.com