Get a green Colleague
A plant on your desktop can reduce fatigue symptoms by 30%, absenteeism by 14% and increase productivity by 12%, new studies reveal. Life@work’s shows you how the colour of envy is also the colour of therapy
Keeping a Feng Shui Bamboo plant on your desk for luck is passé. Pot a plant for good health, instead. Several studies point towards the health benefits of a green desktop.
Bonsai benefit: Saumil Patel with his instant rejuvenators”
Saumil Patel, MD, Inega Modeling Management vouches for it
“I keep two Bonsai plants on a shelf, directly above my computer. When my eyes feel tired, I just glance at them; they rejuvenate me almost instantly, relieve me of stress and keep me calm,” says Saumil, who has made foliage part of his office and reception interior.
Recognising the demand for office plants, Bharat Soni, director of Go Green nursery near Panvel, has developed tabletop landscape trees that require minimum maintenance. Companies like ICICI and Reliance have picked up his tabletop landscapes.
Colour therapist Dr Daisy Sha tells you how a plant on your desk helps
“The benefits are many, and the effort involved isn’t too much,” she says. Dr Sha tells you how hues and shapes of plants influence your life, according to Sankhya philosophy.
* Invest in a plant with smooth-edged leaves; this improves workplace relationships. Also recommended for those with a history of heart disease. Pointed/ jagged leaves represent intrusion.
* Since green is also the colour of the heart chakra, being surrounded by foliage attracts love and happiness.
* Plants with flowers indicate fertility. Keep one on your tabletop if you suffer from sexual problems caused by work stress, or your busy lifestyle does not allow you time for intimate relationships.
* The colour green keeps you calm, and soothes tension between colleagues.
* The colour also helps you resolve inner conflict.
Top 9 benefits of green thumbs at work
Dr Kushrav Bajan, consultant physician at Hinduja Hospital , Mahim, says plants have physical and psychological benefits. Here’s why your tabletop should go green:
1. Purifies the air: Plants purify the air by exchanging the carbon dioxide we exhale for oxygen; recent studies also suggest that plants can filter volatile compounds such as benzene from the atmosphere.
2. Negates side effects of modern equipment: Office plants are an inexpensive method of cleansing the air of toxic gases emitted from modern office equipment, for example fax machines, computers and photocopiers. Build-up of these gases can cause headaches and irritation to the eyes.
3. Humidity control: Washington State University research showed that plant transpiration in an office environment creates a humidity level exactly matching the recommended human comfort range of 30% to 60%.
4. Reduces fatigue: A study conducted among workers of the Norwegian State Oil Company revealed that plants reduced health problems, with symptoms of fatigue falling by 30%, and headaches by 20%.
5. Reduces absenteeism: Agricultural University in Oslo , Norway , found that when plants were included in office buildings, the sum of 12 symptoms was 23% lower. This translated into a 14% decrease in absenteeism.
6. Keeps you on your toes: A study conducted by the University of Washington found that in workers in a windowless office, plants brought about a 12% quicker reaction time in computer tasks, and lowered blood pressure levels.
7. Reduce noise levels: Interior plants absorb background noise in buildings, making the environment more comfortable for occupants.
8. Increases energy levels: Plants are a sight for sore eyes, especially for those who spend hours in front of the computer. “This rejuvenates you and improves energy levels,” says Dr Bajan.
9. Boosts productivity: Studies reveal that productivity increases by 12% in the presence of plants. A feeling of being more attentive was also reported.
Cut’n’keep guide to desktop plants
Ramchandra Patil, senior horticulturist at Go Green Nursery, helps you choose
Chlorophytum or Ribbon Grass: This tiny plant releases oxygen better, when compared to other plants. Replace every 3 months.
Table Palm: It’s attractive, low-maintenance and sturdy. The slightly-larger Areca Palm is perfect for a cabin. Palm plants reduce office pollution, symptoms of headaches, nausea and eye problems.
Philodendron or Dumb Cane: Since it is planted as a moss stick plant, the moss keeps the temperature down. Always keep it moist.
Dracaena: Different varieties of this plant grow pink, beige and yellow leaves. It’s pleasing to the eye, and will add colour to your desk.
Syngonium: The leaves of this plant are heart shaped, and are available in colours such as pale green and pink.
Noise reducing plants include Spathiphyllum Wallisii (Peace Lily), Philodendron Scandens (Sweetheart Plant), Ficus Benjamina (Weeping Fig) and Dracaena Marginata (Madagascan Dragon Tree).
Maintenance guide for indoor plants
Water: Indoor plants do not require too much water, but they need to be kept moist at all times. If the soil feels moist, do not water it.
Substitute for sunlight: You can grow almost anything if there is enough artificial light. Make sure the lighting is not too dim. There are a variety of lights that work well on plants, such as incandescent (regular light bulbs) and fluorescent lighting.
Fertilizers: Organic manure should be given twice a year.
Plant container: Clay containers allow roots to breathe and are heavy enough to stabilise large plants, but they are also fragile. Plastic is inexpensive