It’s widely agreed that well cared-for office plants look great, but a common conception is that they come at an expense with little value for money. Your office plant isn’t going to pick up the phone and make you your next big sale, but they can certainly save you money.
Sickness absence in Britain costs the economy an estimated £15 billion per year with £9 billion of this footed directly by employers in sick pay and associated costs, plus the indirect costs of managing business while people aren’t there. If there was a solution to this which also improved the professional appearance of your workspace as well as providing an overall cost saving, you’d be forgiven for thinking it sounds too good to be true.
Many of us spend around 40 hours a week inside an office. Add to that the time we spend at home and it can mean some of us are inside for up to 22 hours per day.
The air circulating around our workspace often contains a cocktail of chemicals and pollution. Heating, cooking food, cleaning materials, perfumes, smoking and furnishings are all sources of indoor air pollutants which include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur oxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a group of chemicals that are released from (for example) plastics and synthetics. In your home or office they can come from carpets, furniture, glues, computers, detergents and paints.
The University of Central Lancashire set to work to see if office plants could live up to their air-purifying reputation. The study actually reviewed the many other positive effects of indoor plants such as productivity, creativity as well as wellness and positive mental attitude, however to keep the word count here reasonable I will refrain from digressing…
The 6 month study period was compared to the same time frame of the previous year. With the addition of some lovely office plants, sickness rates dropped by nearly 50%! For any sceptics out there, the control group who were monitored within the exact same 6 months actually saw an increase in sickness.
Obviously it depends on how much an employee earns but in this specific example, the savings made due to reduced sickness absence in monetary terms equated to approximately £45,000 for the year. The cost of indoor plants (from Inleaf, for example *hint hint*) on a two year rental and maintenance contract could as little as £15+VAT per week.
And if that’s not enough to sway you, they also look fantastic.