How Can Nature Help Ease Covid Stress? (Plants May Be the Answer)

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As the global coronavirus pandemic enters its predicted second peak by the end of 2020, employers face the daunting challenge of maintaining morale in the workplace.

Worker returning off furlough may find it hard to readjust. If they have been absent for six months or more, they may have new working procedures to learn, company and industry changes to be updated on, and colleague relationships to re-establish.

Fewer colleagues in the workplace and safe distancing measures such as screens, wider spaces between desks or limitations on gathering during coffee and lunch breaks may create feelings of isolation.

Economic uncertainty will cause many to fear their job security.

And to cap it all, we are about to enter the shorter days of winter, when the morning and evening commute will be made in twilight or darkness.

What can employers do to alleviate this?

In 2010, the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, discovered tangible benefits to introducing plants to the office or workspace:

  • tension and anxiety were reduced by 37%
  • depression or dejection dropped by 58%
  • anger and hostility came down by 44%
  • fatigue was reduced by 38%

Just two years after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, maybe they hoped that the worst was behind us. But with the IMF predicting what they call the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, their findings are now more relevant than ever.

Their studies revealed that pot plants produce oxygen and can help purify the air of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted by the synthetic materials used in furniture and office equipment, and of carbon dioxide expelled by breathing.

But another theory behind the benefits of plants in the workplace is biophilia, described as being ‘a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature: a desire or tendency to commune with nature.’ Certainly, many cultures place a lot of value in being surrounded by nature: take for example the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’, where the ‘bather’ turns off all devices and immerses their sense in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest.

Disconnecting all devices may not help productivity in your workplace, and space restrictions may only allow for a bonsai on the desk and not a plantation of giant sequoia, but you can use displays of leafy, verdant foliage to soften the clinical lines of sneeze screens, fill the necessary gaps between desks and bring some of the great outdoors inside.

With over 35 years of bringing artificial and living plant displays to commercial interior design, Aztec Plants know how to create relaxing workspace environments with indoor plants, cut flower arrangements, and living walls.

We work with architects, interior designers, fit-out contractors and facilities managers and our gallery illustrates our creative versatility, while real-life case studies demonstrate our professional competence.

If you would like to transform your workspace into a calm, healthy, productive environment, click here to contact Aztec Plants today.

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