May 15

At long last spring is in the air and the bare trees and flooded fields are being replaced by flowering plants and a brightening landscape. Step outside, take a deep breathe, smell the freshness. Doesn’t it make you feel better, put a smile on your face and make you more prepared for the day ahead? So why confine that feeling to when you are outside.

Beyond looking pretty, there are multiple psychological benefits to having flowers and plants in your environment, whether a bouquet in your bedroom, or a “living wall” in the workplace.

Introducing flowers, plants, and other elements of the natural world into a space is referred to as biophilic design, an evergreen interior design trend many are familiar with. We work closely with furniture manufacturer Dams who previously referred to biophilia as one of their top workplace trends for 2024, and here’s why:

Plants are Positivity Pollinators

The most prominent psychological effect from flora is its mood-enhancing powers. Being in an environment with plants results in a more positive outlook and an improvement in energy and happiness. This impact has been proven to last for days, even without constant contact.

Improved positivity is contagious, prompting people to engage in better self-care and healthy habits, which reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Enthusiasm, energy, and job satisfaction also all come wrapped in the positivity package.

Studies from Exeter University found that employees were 15% more productive when plants were introduced into a workplace that previously contained no biophilia.

Plants are Stress Relievers

In hectic environments, our fight-or-flight responses are triggered, and prolonged exposure to this sort of environment results in the disruption of our nervous system’s balance, causing energy drain and fatigue. In contrast, human interaction with nature restores this balance, decreasing stress and increasing concentration.

Interestingly, the practice of ‘forest bathing’ (known as Shirin-Yoku) is popular in Japan, which is the act of making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest. Coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982, this practice was developed as a response to the increasing urbanization and technological advancements in Japan, and has since become widely known for its reported health benefits.

Plants are Air Filters

There isn’t much worse than a stuffy office. Through the respiration processes of plants, excess carbon dioxide is removed from the air, and oxygen is released, improving the air quality in even the most enclosed office. Even offices with air conditioning can benefit from biophilic design, with many species of plant making air more humid in spaces where the air can often feel far too dry.

While one house plant on a desk may not have much of an effect on air quality, introducing a variety of living plants (even building a ‘living wall’), is sure to be a breath of fresh air.

Plants are Acoustic Absorbers

Noise can often be an issue in offices, particularly in open-plan ones. A well-placed plant can help to reduce noise pollution in an area with its leaves, branches, and stems. These natural forms absorb, deflect, and reflect sound.

As a natural consequence of this noise reduction, employees will feel less stress, in addition to the natural stress reduction felt by the mere presence of plant life.

Plants are Healing Aids

The benefits of biophilic design reach even those in the healthcare sector, with studies finding improved recovery rates and reduced reliance on pain medication in patients located in a room with a view of nature, and exposure to plants.

Of course, biophilia does not only benefit patients, as healthcare staff (a workforce known for extreme stress levels) are also positively affected by plants and the many benefits listed above.

With all these biophilic benefits, it’s no wonder that bringing nature’s beauty to the workplace is such an enduring trend.