Having a plant in your office could prevent sick days and reduce stress, says experts

Research shows tthey can help purify the air of toxic chemicals

Sarah Young
Tuesday 09 January 2018 16:12 GMT

Filling your workspace with plants could help combat sick days and reduce stress levels, researchers have found.

Those who work in high-rise office buildings will know all too well just how easily illnesses can spread.

But, while this problem is often associated with poor ventilation, chemicals used in office furniture can cause an array of health concerns too.

According to researchers though, the answer could be as simple as investing in some greenery, which will help purify the air of toxic chemicals.

“One excellent way to combat both sick days and stress is by filling your office with plants,” Eddie van Etten and Pierre Horwitz wrote for The Conversation.

“Ideally, you want plants that will ‘scrub’ the air of pathogens, improve the office’s mix of bacteria, and survive in low light with little care.”

The researchers add that doing so can help clear the air of harmful substances found in some office furnishings including formaldehyde, benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, and even ammonia from cleaning products.

Similarly, while offices can be a breeding ground for bacteria which cause viruses, Etten and Horwitz say that plant-associated bacteria could actually be good for you.

“Beneficial bacteria on indoor plants and in their soil are an important addition to the office, stabilising the ecology of the built synthetic environment,” they added.

“Plant-associated bacteria could also help to avoid outbreaks of pathogens by and balancing the complex network of the ecosystem.

“A wholesome balance may reduce the incidence of viral illness and the number of sick days among staff.”

The findings are also supported by a previous NASA study which found that keeping certain types of plants in your home could prevent you from getting sick.

It’s extensive list of plants included areca palm, aloe vera, English ivy, Boston fern, peace lily, weeping figs and lady palms – all of which are said to the purify air.

Etten and Horwitz added that introducing more plants to your environment could also help tackle stress.

This, they say, is because studies have proven that green spaces and nature can help promote feelings of relaxation and calmness, which can contribute to your mood.

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