There are many benefits to filling your home or office with fresh and beautiful greenery! Not only can plants be used to add colour and interest to a space, making it more welcoming to employees and any potential visitors, but research has shown that being in the presence of plants can improve our moods and concentration. This is great news for businesses as this means that introducing plants to a working environment can help to boost overall productivity. However, one of the biggest benefits is that plants can prevent colds, flus and sickness bugs.
This is particularly advantageous in winter as sickness bugs and the common cold and the flu are rife; especially in busy, enclosed spaces such as offices, classrooms and store stockrooms! As statistics from The Office for National Statistics and The Labour Force Survey show, such illnesses can cause big losses for businesses. In 2017, the average employee in the UK lost 4.1 working days due to sickness, and the most common reason for this was minor illnesses (such as colds and the flu).
The 2017 Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey also shows that sickness related absence is costing the UK economy around £77.5 billion a year. Worryingly, this has risen from £73 billion a year in 2016.
Why do we get more sickness bugs in the winter months?
Some people may think that it’s a common misconception that we get more colds in winter. However, our immune systems are naturally lowered in cold weather, making us more susceptible to the viruses that cause colds, flus and sickness bugs. Additionally, studies have proven that these viruses thrive in colder temperatures.
Office heating being put on full blast during the winter months may make the cold more bearable, but it might be doing more harm than good! Central heating can create a dry atmosphere, which can cause dehydration in the whole body, particularly the sinuses. This can lead to people experiencing a number of unpleasant symptoms such as a sore throat, headaches, sinus pain and nosebleeds.
How can you prevent Christmas sickness bugs with plants?
One of the biggest advantages of bringing plants into your home or workplace is that they’re extremely effective at removing dust, bacteria, mould and harmful everyday toxins from the air, such as benzene found in paint and glues and formaldehyde found in paper bags, paper towels and tissues. In addition to this, plants also lower the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air.
Prolonged exposure to any of these things can cause a range of symptoms that generally make people feel unwell, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat. Bacteria in the air can also cause colds, flus and other easily spread sickness bugs, making it even more vital to add some greenery to your workplace.
Plants and flowers are known for their ability to improve air quality, and another way that they do this is by raising humidity. With dry air aggravating asthma and allergies, and low humidity being favoured by the flu virus, this is something you should be working to prevent!
According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, Dracaenas, Ferns and the Snake Plant are some of the best indoor plants for raising a room’s humidity levels and removing bacteria and toxins from the air, so make sure these are at the top of your list of plants to incorporate.
You can even avoid the cold and Christmas bugs altogether and go from festive to fiesta on holidays with a Christmas break.
At phs Greenleaf, we provide a range of interior plants to brighten up your workplace and boost the health and happiness of your employees. Contact us to find out more.