Research released today by Ambius, the experts in workspace plant design, reveals that the appeal of working from home could be waning amongst office workers. The majority (52%) look forward to returning to the office for mental health and wellbeing reasons. This rises to almost two thirds (64%) amongst 18-34 year olds.
While physical health elements such as social distancing, hygiene, and ventilation are high on the list of priorities amongst workers when returning to the office following the pandemic, the research conducted with 2,000 office workers across the UK also highlights the importance of mental health and wellbeing.
58% of office workers miss being in a space that is more dedicated to work, while two in five (42%) say they don’t have a sufficient workspace at home. The same percentage (42%) say they find their workplace is more creative or inspiring than working from home.
Almost four in five (78%)believe employers should now prioritise health and wellbeing at work, with 47% saying they would consider leaving their current job if their employer did not make changes to help improve health and wellbeing.
Almost two thirds (64%) of office workers believe the design of their workplace affects their wellbeing. They cite indoor air quality (48%), their ability to access outdoor space (37%), natural light (34%), heating or air conditioning (34%) and plants and greenery (16%) as the key design factors that they believe influence their wellbeing in the office.
Adding plants and greenery to the office is one way that employers can demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ emotional wellbeing. Studies show plants can help people feel connected with nature as well as delivering benefits for emotional wellbeing including reduced stress, lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem and improved mood. Some plant species also play a role in helping to improve air quality indoors, by acting as a natural air filter.
When asked about the value of adding plants to their workplace, 42% of British office workers believe it improves the air quality, a third (33%) suggest it improves their mental health and wellbeing, and 30% say it creates a better workplace in general.
Prettpal Somel, UK Marketing Executive, Ambius comments: “Initially many people enjoyed working from home full time because it meant they didn’t have to commute into work or dress up. But, 12 months later the mental health benefits of being in a work environment that is separate to the home is shining through once again.
“While employers quite rightly need to consider pressing elements to make their offices COVID-safe, they must not ignore the mental health benefits that a workplace provides. Air quality is not only one of the key pillars in the fight against Coronavirus, but can also help to boost the sense of wellbeing that employees feel when working in a shared space.
Employers should adopt a dual-pronged approach in this regard, deploying an air purifier that is capable of killing virus particles in the air, such as VIRUSKILLERTM which is distributed by Rentokil Initial, alongside installing office plants which provide a connection with nature while indoors as well as helping to improve air quality. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature, and so having living plants and greenery within the workplace is a great way to enhance this connection.”