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Bosses warned ‘biophilia’ should not be ignored



Plant-life balance helps improve wellbeing and the bottom line

Employers take note; a condition is sweeping the country which could affect workforce performance.
 
Biophilia refers to our innate need to be connected with nature.  According to indoor environment specialist Ambius, losing that connection with the natural environment can have a negative impact on staff productivity.  

“Since most of us work long hours in closed office environments, biophilic or nature inspired design is an important consideration for workplaces.  This can mean providing natural light, clean air or a connection to living things such as plants” says Graeme Armeni, National Technical Manager with Ambius. “In fact, research has found that a leafy office can reduce stress and negativity by up to 60 per cent* and improve productivity by up to 30 per cent**."

Almost 60 per cent*** of Australian companies do not have any greenery in their workplaces. However, research* by Dr Fraser Torpy and colleagues at the University of Technology Sydney strongly suggests that indoor plants can improve air quality, increase staff wellbeing and boost productivity. 

“Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted from synthetic materials in office furniture, fittings and computers can cause headaches, loss of concentration and eye, nose and throat problems. Carbon dioxide (CO2) has also been linked to drowsiness,” says Torpy. “Our research proves that plants can reduce potentially harmful VOCs by 80 per cent and CO2 by up to 25 per cent, so the health benefits are significant. 

“Employers will also be interested to hear that this cleaner air leads to clearer thinking which in turn promotes greater productivity and efficiency,” he continues. 

March 2nd was Plant Life Balance Day, a campaign which was developed by the Nursery & Garden Industry of Australia to promote the important role that plants play in our busy, indoor working lives.  

Dr Anthony Kachenko, Environmental & Technical Policy Manager with the Nursery and Garden Industry Association says, “Research shows that indoor plants can have a direct impact on employee wellbeing and business performance. Adopting biophilic design and incorporating plants into the workplace can help create an optimal working space that breeds productivity and calmness”.

During March and April, the Ambius team will give away more than 10,000 plants to office workers throughout Australia and challenge them to assess how connected they are to nature in their workplaces.  Ambius is one of the leading suppliers of indoor plants in Australia.  For more information, visit the Ambius website www.ambiusindoorplants.com.au 

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*Greening the Great Indoors for Human Health and Wellbeing’, Professor Margaret Burchett (UTS), Dr Fraser Torpy (UTS), Mr Jason Brennan (UTS), Professor Ashley Craig (Univ. Syd.), Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Group, Centre for Environmental Sustainability (CEnS), UTS, February 2010
** Knight, C.P., & Haslam, S.A. (2010) The Relative Merits of Lean, Enriched, and Empowered Offices: An Experimental Examination of the Impact of Workspace Management, Journal of Experimental: Applied, 16, 158 – 172.
*** Interior plantscaping benchmarking study, June 2011, D&R research