It’s impossible to stop every single person from becoming sick once in a while – but there are steps employers can take to improve general wellbeing and reduce staff absence. Contagious illnesses such as the common cold and sickness bugs can spread like wildfire in the workplace. However the leading cause of long-term sickness and absenteeism is stress.
The office environment could be a contributing factor to illness. With lots of people spending 8+ hours a day at their desks, using the bathroom and cooking in the kitchen, bacteria is likely to grow and spread at a rapid rate. That’s why regular cleaning services are essential for stopping germs in their tracks and preventing many cases of office sickness.
However, the normal set-up of an office can also have an impact on employee health. Sitting down for too long and spending hours looking at a computer screen can cause back pain and other health issues associated with inactivity. Long working hours and increasing pressures can lead to stress and other mental health problems, which are becoming more common. There are also harmful chemicals in furniture and furnishings which office workers are constantly breathing in.
The Power of Plants
Using plants in indoor spaces to purify the air and improve health and wellbeing has long been touted by many interior designers and researchers. The power of plants can be used in workspaces to reduce the effects of poor ventilation and poor air quality from chemicals released by office furniture and products. Even ammonia used in many cleaning products can be harmful – but keeping the office clean and hygienic is critical. Plants provide a way to clear the air of harmful substances – not to mention greenery improves the design of the office too.
A NASA study has already proved that keeping certain plants can prevent you from becoming sick, and now more research published in The Independent supports the idea that filling offices with plants could be the secret to reducing sick days. An assortment of indoor foliage can scrub the air and improve the room’s mix of bacteria to reduce viral illnesses and therefore combat staff absence. Additionally, plants have also been shown to reduce stress levels, promote calmness and improve mood – all of which is an excellent recipe for productivity in the office.
Why not try introducing plants into your workspace and seeing what effect it has? The best ones for purifying air and tackling stress are the bamboo palm, the peace lily, aloe vera and English ivy.