Office Productivity

Office Productivity

Research at the Paharpur Business Centre and Software Technology Incubator Park in New Delhi, India has demonstrated a 20% increase in worker productivity and a reduction of energy expenditures of 15%. They also found that 42% of the workers working for 10 hours in the building increased their blood oxygen levels by 1%. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Office plants reduced the incidence of eye irritation by 52%, lower respiratory symptoms by 20%, lung impairment by 10-12% and Asthma by 9%. As result of this and an the reduction in worker sick days worker productivity was increased significantly.

How did they achieve such a miraculous results? House plants…  Specifically the following plants

The Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  • Works well in the day time
  • Great for living areas
  • One needs about 4 shoulder high plants/person
  • Needs to be put outdoors once every 3-4 months
  • The leaves of the plant need to be wiped everyday in Delhi and perhaps once a month in a cleaner city
  • The soil used should be of vermi manure or use hydroponics

The Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

  • Converts CO2 into O2 at night
  • One requires about 6-8 such waist high plants per person in the bedroom
  • Leaves need to be wiped in the same way as the Areca Palm
  • The soil used should be of vermi manure or use hydroponics
The Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Excellent for removing Formaldehyde and other VOC’s
  • Best grown using hydroponics

There is an excellent presentation by Kamal Meattle on TED that describes this experiment and I’m sufficiently impressed that I’m going to try it out this week. I’ll keep you posted. Below is a handy image file to print out with plant names, images, suggested size, water and soil recommendations .

Indoor Plants For Better Air

OK, here is the follow up.
I purchased the following plants last week:

2 Large Dracaenas-
Bright Indirect Light. Weekly Soaking… Do not allow to dry out. Mist Every 3 days.

4 Small Snake Plants-
Bright Indirect Light, Weekly Watering… Soil should be kept barely moist, not soaked. Prefers nitrate free fertilizer.

2 Medium Cat Palm-
Medium Light, Weekly Watering… Soil should be moist, not soggy.

2 Large Peace Lily-
Low Light, Weekly Watering… Do not allow to dry out. Mist Every 3 days. Prefer moist warmth.

1 Medium and 2 Starters Pothos-
Bright Indirect Light. Weekly Splash of Water… Let the soil dry out completely between waterings. When it starts to droop add water.

1 Medium Spider Plant-
Bright Indirect Light Weekly Watering… Soil should be moist, not soggy.

I transplanted them all to larger pots that have a water catch basin built into the base so the roots are much less likely to rot from over watering, just in case. I used high quality potting soil and gave them a good but not excessive watering.

So far, I can report the following:

1) I definitely have not killed any of them. They appear to be very healthy.

2) The place definitely smells fresher. While I haven’t noticed a tremendous surge in my work performance, the environment is more enjoyable to be in, and this may explain the reason for the improved productivity that the study found. When people feel good in their work place they may be more willing to work more.

3) One surprising benefit I did not foresee was that the plants introduce a very pleasant level of humidity in the air.  I think that in the next month or so I may add a few more hanging plants where appropriate. But so far, I think the experiment has been a success and I didn’t have to transform my work space into something out of a Maurice Sendak story.

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