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Plant power equals happiness

To commemorate the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness on 20 March we are celebrating the power of plants and their ability bring joy into people’s lives.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the importance of focusing on employee’s mental wellbeing during lock downs has been a growing concern for employers.

Research published by the Scottish Government found that 44% of those surveyed were less happy than before the Coronavirus pandemic.

The benefits of plants and their ability to impact our mood have been well documented and introduced into the office space, plants can be a cost-effective way of boosting morale.

One study entitled Effects of Foliage Plants on Human Physiological and Psychological Responses at different Temperatures, stated that ‘the presence of plants can reduce stress of the employee, health complaint and increase employee’s satisfaction and quality of working life,’ demonstrating the power of nature to improve  our feelings of happiness.’

The theme of this year’s International Day of Happiness is ‘Keep Calm, Stay Wise. Be Kind,’ a direct link to one of the positive benefits of plants, their ability to keep us calm and in turn help us maintain our stress levels. Adding greenery to the workplace can have a mood-altering effect, leading to increased levels of happiness.

The ability of plants to have a significant impact on our disposition and ultimately our wellbeing has been linked to our innate need to be in touch with our natural surroundings.  The term biophilia, a concept first publicised by Edward O. Wilson in the 1980s, describes this need for humans to be continually connected to nature.

A 2004 study into the impact of biophilic design in the workplace found that ‘those who work in environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, report a 15% higher level of well being than those who work in environments devoid of nature.’

Ironically, while the negative impact of coronavirus on our mental health due to lack of socialisation has been hitting the headlines, many of us have taken the opportunity, with more time on our hands, to exercise outdoors.  Following a BBC Wildlife Magazine questionnaire in September 2020, editor Paul McGuinness said: “Our study backs up what many of us suspected – that now more than ever before, it is vital for people to connect with nature, both for physical and mental wellbeing. The key challenge will be how we maintain or increase this engagement.”

As we look forward to further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and the prospect of getting back to the workplace, it will be necessary for employers to carefully consider the biophilic design of offices to safeguard the mental health of team members and maximise happiness at work. Bringing the outside in with interior plants can help to induce joy into the working environment and nurture contentment and productivity.

Happy International Day of Happiness.

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“We just love plants. It makes the office even more welcoming, and they are so nice to look at. GP have been perfect. “Elaine [Sales Manager] is great and if we have any questions, she is just at the end of the phone, and it has been lovely to see Lesley [Interior Landscape Technician] and her friendly face when she comes in to tend to the plants.”
Bethany Wilson , Class for Kids
“The greenery creates a calm and tranquil environment in which to work and are conducive to the design process.”
Mette Møller, Urban Designer , HarrisonStevens
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