Immunity to ‘National Sickie Day’

February 3, 2020

The first Monday in February has earned the nickname ‘National Sickie Day’ but offices where plants are present are less likely to experience high absence levels.

Research has shown that workplaces incorporating greenery can reduce sickness absence and in turn cut costs and increase productivity.

In fact, absenteeism was reduced by 50% in one Scottish survey and 60% in a hospital in Norway, by introducing tropical plants in the offices.

So how do they do that?

Our foliage friends work on two levels to help reduce absence, firstly they work towards creating a better physical working environment and secondly, their mere presence helps us to connect with nature, producing psychological benefits.


The term ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ links absence to poor air quality, lack of ventilation, air conditioning and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in indoor air which can lead to symptoms including headaches, skin irritations, fatigue and asthma.

Interior plants can challenge these environmental conditions and tackle absence issues, acting as air cleaners.

They absorb certain chemicals in the air through their leaves and roots, turning these VOC’s into food, effectively removing the toxins from the air.


The term biophilia describes the innate need for humans to connect with nature at work and highlights the importance of the presence of greenery on our well-being.

At a simpler level, by installing office plants in in the working environment, where they can be seen by staff throughout the day, simply makes us feel better.

So when it comes to ‘National Sickie Day’, staff who work in an office where they can connect with nature and are less prone to physical side effects might be less tempted to snuggle under the duvet and feel more motivated to head into the office.