Most Hongkongers see the office as their second home. Some spend even more time at work than at home. That's why it's extremely important to have a "good" office environment. Yet, what makes an office environment "good"? One key indicator is how green it is. A green office not only helps improve physical and emotional health, but also enhances work efficiency. A research by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows that the amounts of toxic agents are 60% lower in environments with indoor plants.1 If you feel like making the office environment healthier by injecting some vitality, the following plants are a good place to start.
NASA recommended plants -- natural air purifiers
Our office environment is likely filled with a lot more pollutants than we imagine -- just think of all that dusts trapped in the carpet, second hand smoke lingering around office mates, not to mention the air-conditioner that hadn't been cleaned for a long while. Besides using air purifiers, we shouldn't forget about the purifying power of potted plants.
Snake plant, well known for its hardiness, is an evergreen plant suitable for the office. It also has been confirmed by NASA as the most effective for air purification, with the ability to absorb toxic gases such as sulfur dioxide, chlorine, ether, carbon monoxide and more.
Another hardy and low maintenance plant recommended by NASA is aloe vera. Not only can it remove a toxic substance common in chemical cleaners, the brown spots on its leaves get more numerous when there are more airborne toxic agents, thereby giving an indication of indoor air quality.
Glass terrarium -- easy on eyes and maintenance
Glass terrariums, much loved in recent years, are easy to care for as watering is only needed once every two weeks -- ideal for workaholics in the office. DIY or beloved decorations can also be added to give the office an added healing touch. Just beware too much water or sunlight can affect healthy growth.
Fleshy plants, another popular choice of late, are also a good option. As fleshy plants are often native to arid desert habitats, sunlight is more important and watering need not be too frequent.
Air plants -- beauty without soil or roots
Can plants grow without soil or roots? That is precisely why air plant has grown in popularity. Air plant primarily take in nutrients and water through their leaves. Since their minimal roots only serve to anchor the plant and perform limited air exchange, soil is not required for growth.
Air plants are typically grown in suspended pots, which can be hung around the office. Indeed, a plastic water bottle can be easily cut open to create a simple pot -- a perfect way to combine up-cycling and greening.
Adopt a potted plant to add vitality
If you don't have time to care for a plant on your desk personally, adopting a plant with another office mate might be a good option. In 2019, MSIG introduced a plant adoption programme in the office and helped to find volunteers to care for 30 potted plants. All it takes to create a comfortable and refreshing work environment is regular plant care by the office staff.
Beautifying an environment with plant life not only can purify air naturally, but also reduce stress on the indoor space and the planet, as well as promote the planting of diverse species. Your personal commitment can help bring a positive change to yourself, others and our ecosystem. There’s no better time to start than today.