Bringing the Outdoors In: Office Plants and Why They Matter

Plants don’t exist just to sit and look pretty. As it turns out, they have a powerful impact on our environment, our health, and our overall mood. Next time you’re looking for some new office décor, why not consider adding a few plants? Below are three reasons why a little bit of greenery goes a long way.

Plants have been scientifically proven to improve air quality. Try bringing aloe vera, spider plants, or peace lilies – to name just a few - into your office. These plants can help filter out formaldehyde (found in chemical-based cleaners, toilet tissue, and personal care products) and benzene (found in paint, glue, plastics, and detergent). Find a more comprehensive list of air-purifying plants here.

Plants are the original humidifiers. Plants add moisture to the air, reducing the effects many people experience from a dry environment, including a runny nose, dry throat, and itchy eyes. Most plants need relatively moist air to thrive, so if your office is dry, be sure to mist the plants with water occasionally.

Plants boost your mood. Since they are often colorful, vibrant, and eye-catching, plants naturally provide a welcome visual break from, say, a spreadsheet or pile of paperwork. According to Psychology Today, not only do indoor plants provide a dose of nature, but their presence has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, raise productivity, and increase job satisfaction.

Illustration: Naomi Elliot

Five Ways to Make Office Lunch More Intentional

Give your midday meal the attention it deserves with a few simple tips:

1. Avoid eating at your desk. When you work and eat simultaneously, your body doesn’t register the fact that it’s eating. If you’re mindlessly consuming food, it becomes easier to overeat. Give yourself a chance to enjoy a change of scenery and concentrate on the meal before you.

2. Use a real plate with real silverware. You deserve a nicely presented meal. Tupperware is great for transportation, but when it comes time to eat, transfer the contents of your container onto a real plate. Doing so makes you more aware of what you are eating, and allows you to appreciate and focus on the flavor of the food.

3. If you’re eating out, think about what you want to eat before you get hungry. When our bodies are hungrier, we tend to make rash food choices. Strive to be one step ahead of the game.

4. Eat breakfast! Eating a substantial breakfast ensures you don’t end up ravenous at lunchtime.

5. Think of eating as an “experience.” Eating is more than just putting food into your body. It’s also about slowing down, enjoying the nuances of flavor and texture, gathering with others, and taking moments to contemplate and self-reflect over a satisfying meal.

By Erica Friedmann