We caught up with Victoria Allwood, Director of Living Decor, to find out about the benefits of plants in the office, the latest indoor greenery trends, and ideas on how to easily incorporate greenery into office spaces.
What are the benefits of having healthy living plants in office spaces?
For many people, plants are simply an attractive decoration. However they are doing a whole lot more to make people's environment not only healthier to work in, but a more calming, pleasant place to be. Research shows that plants clean the air of toxins, reduce sickness in the workplace and boost productivity.
What trends are you seeing at the moment in terms of office greenery?
Current trends are open-plan offices with tambour plant units and some free-standing plants. This set-up allows for more storage but also makes full use of vertical space where floor space can often be limited.
We are definitely seeing a strong trend towards having living plants in offices as people begin to understand the benefits. A few years ago, designers and architects were keen to show off the features of their buildings without additional decoration, such as plants, to take the eye away. Today the opposite is true. Living plants are becoming an integral part of their office design right from the outset.
Interestingly, the swing back to 'retro' look plants is notable and we are often asked for plants that were popular in the '70s and '80s such as monstera deliciosa, ficus lyrata, rubber plants and climbing plants such as philodendron cordatums. Plants that we had in our home when I was growing up. Requests for macrame hangers are also fairly common and I asked my 95-year-old father if he still had some of mum's in our garage at home!
Green and leafy is the look people are after, rather than the more structural plants of the 90's such as yuccas and succulents. The growers have been scrambling to source and grow these retro plants again after moving right away from them when the demand disappeared.
Similarly, we have installed and maintained a variety of living walls, ranging from 3 story high living structures through to living pictures that feature plants instead of a painting and look incredible.
What easy ideas would you suggest to incorporate greenery into office spaces?
The simplest way would be to include either tabletop or counter top plants and free-standing plants into the office spaces.
A beautiful free-standing plant in a stylish planter costs less per week to hire than a bottle of milk. These can be moved to where they are needed and provide a splash of greenery for people to appreciate.
Tambour planters are also very effective as they double as office storage.
Once plants are in place all people have to do is enjoy them, as all the hard work is done by us. We come in and look after them and replace and refresh them regularly. It couldn't be easier!
An important point to note is that plants have to be strong, healthy and pest-free in order to do their job well. Hiring a plant ensures this is guaranteed, whereas purchasing a plant and expecting it to perform without regular care and sustenance is not going to be a long-term solution. Living Decor offers affordable indoor plant solutions to fit all budgets throughout New Zealand. Find out more at livingdecor.co.nz
*An example of an organisation leading by example when it comes to office plants is the City of Melbourne (Council). Their building Council House 2 (built in 2006) has a key focus on the indoor environment quality with indoor plants playing a vital part in this. The most impressive thing to note is they have a policy of at least one indoor plant per person.
Read more about this fascinating building here cityofmelbourne.vic.gov.au