Fresh air has numerous health benefits, but getting fresh air during the workday can be a pain. Maybe the nearest window is far from your desk. Or the window doesn't open. Or it's winter. Even if you're near an open window in the springtime, like most people, you're probably in a city anyway and the air quality is substandard to begin with.
Why should you bother solving this problem? We know that cleaner air leads to better cardiovascular health and clearer thinking.
Studies by the University of Technology in Sydney performed research focused on the benefits of pot-plants in reducing urban indoor air pollution in particular. The presence of plants in an environment has been shown to have the following effect:
- Reduced stress levels and negative feelings (include anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue) by a magnitude of 30 to 60%
- Reduced incidence of eye irritation reduced by 52%
- Reduced lower respiratory symptoms by 34%
- Reduced headaches by 24%
- Reduced upper respiratory symptoms by 20%
- Reduced lung impairment by 10-12%
- Reduced Asthma by 9%.
The positive effects cascade
We know that stress, negative feelings, and headaches can impact productivity and creative output. Perhaps most important to note, the presence of just one office plant was enough to make all the difference. Some of the above results are from the Central Pollution Control Board in India. But where to begin? In a TED Talk now viewed over 2 million times, Kamal Meattle suggested a combination of the following plants:
- Areca Palm: Removes CO2 and converts it into oxygen during the night
- Sansevierias: Converts CO2 into oxygen at night
- Money Plant: Remove formaldehyde and other VOC’s from the air. This is a fresh solution to the off-gassing of many common paints and glues that might be found in infrastructure materials like walls and carpet.
With the correct combination of these plants you could live in a sealed glass jar (assuming you still had running water and food delivery). Air is often overlooked as a variable that can effect your well being, probably because it's invisible and you only think about it when a drastic change occurs quickly (like campfire smoke or your officemate eating tri-bean chili for lunch), but you're breathing air constantly so it makes sense to optimize it to support you.
Besides, plants just make your workspace look better. There wouldn't be a fake-plant industry if humans didn't like hanging around living things. Have you had a positive experience with adding foliage to your indoor environment? Let us know!