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Plants in the office “could slash sickness levels”

13 August 2010

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Houseplants could help boost productivity in the workplace and slash sickness rates, a report has suggested.

The report from Plants4Life showed that having greenery at work can improve people’s moods and well-being as well as raising concentration levels.

Houseplants could help reduce symptoms of “sick building syndrome” such as fatigue, headaches and coughs by a quarter, the report revealed.

It said a study of 51 offices showed houseplants were seen to reduce fatigue by 20%, headaches by 30%, coughs by 40% and dry facial skin by 25%, through emitting oxygen and acting as natural air purifiers.

It said American research showed houseplants had been shown to speed up reaction times by 12% and also help reduce blood pressure more effectively.

CBI research published in June found employees took 180 million sick days last year, averaging 6.4 days each, down from 6.7 in 2007 and the lowest since the CBI survey began in 1987.

The 180 million sick days cost employers about £16.8bn last year, plus indirect costs like reductions in customer service and delays to teamwork.

Copyright © Press Association 2010


Do you have plants in your surgery? Do they make a difference do you think? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Yes we do, but they die a long slow and dehydrated death as nobody ever remembers to water them. They also collect dust and no one cleans them. It’s the old story of everybody, nobody, somebody and anybody: There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realised that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when actually Nobody asked Anybody. Plausible deniability also has a huge part to play! The Wikipedia definition of PD: refers to the denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such act or any connection to the agents used to carry out such acts. As is the case with the watering and dusting of houseplants in the surgery. Our ‘nice’ control of infection lady hasn’t exactly given her seal of approval to said plants either (possibly because we didn’t ask as we knew what the response might be) so their placement in surgery may not be on the right side of her diktat either. I rest my case!!” – Marie, Northwest England

“I note it does not say how many per square metre or person and what are the infection control issues here?” – Name and address withheld