An increased focus on a flexible and adaptable work place means many offices have unintentionally embraced the 'minimalist' movement.
But an Exeter University study discovered this minimalist aesthetic is doing us harm and recommend adding indoor plants to improve your health, happiness and productivity in the workplace.
There's lots of harmful chemicals found in the air, including benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and trichloroethylene. These chemicals are transferred into the air from building materials -- such as plastics, paints, and carpet -- and can have serious health effects.
Most working people spend the entire day inside so it's worrying indoor air quality is often considered more toxic than outside. This is making people sick and it's so common there's even a name for it: Sick-Building-Syndrome (SBS).
Adding just one plant to your desk will immediately start removing harmful, airborne toxins. The NASA Clean Air Study discovered many common indoor plant varieties are champions at removing chemicals from the air. They are so successful, NASA uses them to improve space station air quality.
Inadequate indoor air quality is directly linked to productivity. One study found reducing the dissatisfaction of air quality by just one percent resulted in a 10 percent increase in productivity.
Spending all this time inside is also impacting our physical and mental health.
Indoor plants prevent illness and disease, as well as increasing our ability to heal. They're so powerful, studies indicate patients recover fast when they're looking at plants, and this positive impact is increased when patients are involved in caring for plants.
It's common sense, a healthy person will be better at concentrating, retaining information and won't take as many sick days.
Scientists also believe a connection with nature reduces psychological stress, improves mood and enhances mental health. Studies conducted at Washington State University revealed participants who worked alongside plants were less stressed. The same study found participants in the presence of plants reacted 12 percent faster to computer symbols.
Adding some green to your work space is a no-brainer. If you want to reap the maximum benefits from your plant, and if you consider yourself a black thumb, the Peace Lily is your best bet. The Peace Lily came top of the class in NASA's Clean Air Study at removing airborne chemicals.
The Peace Lily is easy to care for. It will thrive under the all too common office fluorescent lighting, and when their their leaves start to droop you'll know it's time to give them a good drink. Don't worry if you forget about your Peace Lily for a couple of days, they're super robust and a good drenching will bring it back from the dead.
Here's three more easy to care for office plants:
1. Snake plant
Black thumb? The Snake plant thrives off neglect.
2. Devil's ivy
Devil's Ivy can grow more than 10 metres long in the wild.
3. Spider plant
The Spider Plant reproduces by growing new baby plants on runners off the parent plant.
So before you reach for a cup of coffee to get you through the afternoon slump, add some indoor plants to your office instead.
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