Do Plants Make An Office Environment More Productive?

August 04, 2014 at 4:02 PM

As we all strive for a stress-free and more productive office environment, an aspect that is seemingly often overlooked is the use of plants.

We learn that plants have many benefits to their environments and the people around them, some which are over and above the obvious aesthetic element most commonly thought of.

Plants actually absorb, diffract and reflect sound and can reduce the noises often associated with busy offices including phone chatter and noise generated by everyday office equipment including printers and fax machines.

Reducing unwanted noise for an individual would be very welcome for increased productivity but whilst headphones allow some office workers to exclude unwanted noise, not all roles are suited to this solution.

The type of plant, its size, shape, the container, top dressings and the compost all have an effect on the sound reduction capabilities of plant displays. Rough bark and thick leaves are believed to be particularly effective at absorbing sound and altering room acoustics.

So how does this work? Well when sound waves travel and hit a flexible material like a plant, the material will vibrate and the waves are transformed into other forms of energy. This contrasts with the effect when sound hits a masonry wall for instance. In this case, the wall does not vibrate as it is rigid meaning the sound waves are reflected off the wall and back towards the source.

Experiments have shown that, as part of any green office strategy, arrangements of different plants in groups appear to work better than individual plants too.

Have you considered using screen plants instead of partitions too?  Whilst traditionally office spaces are divided by partitions or filing cabinets, the use of plants makes an attractive alternative solution. The tops of filing cabinets and other office surfaces are also perfect for placing plants.

So without doubt the use of plants in an office environment is a sound idea to be thinking about.

Credit for this story goes to Robert Stebbings from