Office spaces are historically stuffy, bathed in fluorescent light, and smell like paper and coffee. Over the last two decades, researchers and psychologists have proven that productivity in the workplace can increase along with air quality. According to Scientific Journals International, there is a significant correlation between air quality and employee productivity that surpassees that of furniture, noise, and spatial arrangement.
Source: Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management (2009)
What’s in Office Air?
So what's in the air of offices that has such an effect on productivity? As Forbes reported, it's a combination of toxic chemicals being released into the air by things like carpets, paint, and furniture glue.(Forbes)
Many factors are dependent on the particular office when it comes to air composition. There are many commercial materials that are unique to office environments, and these materials add an element of concern in regards to safety that is not encountered in the home.
Forbes’ final thoughts: “What can the typical office worker do to limit exposure? Telecommuting when possible, working in outdoor areas, or bringing toxin-sucking plants to the office can all reduce the quantity of exposure to such chemicals.” This blog post will discuss some of these “toxic-sucking” plants that can help you breathe easier, thus increasing productivity.
What’s an EMF?
EMF = ElectroMagnetic Fields. This electrically charged field is created by radiation from computers, laptops, tv’s, radios, microwaves, and many other modern fixtures. EMFs are still being studied by scientists in order to determine the amount of exposure that is safe. It’s widely recommended to limit EMF exposure; however, for many of us, this is not an option (especially in urban areas). Good news! There are plants that absorb this radiation. Hint: cacti.
What are the Plants that can Help the Quality of my Office Air?
- Garden Mum- This plant tops NASA’s list for being the top air purifier (Greatist). This plant eliminates ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from office air. They are affordable and can also be planted outside after indoor use.
- Spider Plant- Ideal for the office because it’s resilient and hard to kill. This plant filters “benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.” (Greatist)
- Red-edged Dracaena- This plant adds a little color to your office and can grow up to the ceiling. Dracaenas prefer moderate sunlight. This plant is a superhero because it filters xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, which can enter the air from lacquers, varnishes, and gasoline.
- Cacti (Radiation)- Place a cacti next to your laptop/computer in your office to absorb EMF radiation. They require more sunlight than the other 4 plants mentioned, but also help by eliminating bacteria in a space. Plus, they look cool.
- Peace Lily- This is an aesthetically pleasing plant because of its beautiful white blooms. This plant is also very easy to care for, needs weekly watering, and prefers shade. This super plant has received NASA’s attention for filtering formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, which happen to be the top 3 VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
For additional options, be sure to check out Good Air Geeks' list of the '15 Plants That Help Improve The Air Quality In Your Home.'
Breathe Better = Work Better
Sources : Washington Post, Scientific Journals, Perboli,Greatist