Sustainable workplaces: Improving staff health and wellbeing using plants.

Smith, Andrew James and Pitt, Michael (2009) Sustainable workplaces: Improving staff health and wellbeing using plants. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 11 (1). pp. 52-63. ISSN 1463-001X

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Purpose – The paper aims to identify and demonstrate the benefits of plants in offices in contributing to employee health and well-being by applying the study to a working office.
Design/methodology/approach – Via comprehensive literature reviews, the paper identifies the importance of indoor plants in office environments, firstly through physically improving the air quality and removing pollutants and secondly in improving employee well-being through
psychological benefits.
Findings – It is argued that plants are important in removing indoor air pollutants and in increasing employee perceptions of well-being. The paper identifies, through literature review, plants with the ability to remove common office pollutants. It shows that there is a general preference for plants in offices through a perception survey and that occupants of planted offices feel more comfortable, more productive, healthier and more creative and feel less pressure than occupants of non-planted offices.
Research limitations/implications – The empirical research presented was limited to one office building. Research is now continuing, with the survey currently being completed by occupants of various offices throughout the UK.
Practical implications – The paper argues that indoor plants should become an integral part of corporate real estate strategies and that they have potential to alleviate sick building syndrome symptoms.
Originality/value – This paper provides an insight into how plants can be incorporated within corporate real estate strategies to improve employee health and well-being and improve perceived productivity. It brings together two separate strands of research into the benefits in physically
improving air quality and the psychological benefits of plants to humans.

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