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The Benefits of Plants in the Home (and in Your Home Office)

The Benefits of Plants in the Home (and in Your Home Office)

I’ve been working from home for about a month now. My “home office” was thrown together in a
frenzy on the first day that I was told by my employer that we’d all be working from home indefinitely. I
hauled out an unused desk from storage, wrangled a bunch of extension cords together, shuffled around
my computer and that was pretty much it. I haven’t made any improvements to my set up since that
day.
If you’re like me, it doesn’t really feel like there’s a whole lot I can do to make my home office space feel
more welcoming. It’s not like this workstation – a giant desk and a rat’s nest of extension cords in the
middle of my living room – is something I intend to keep once I’m told it’s safe to go return to the real
office. I just don’t want to invest in nice furniture or cute décor for a temporary home workstation. But
at this point my thrown together office is kind of draining my life force. That and, you know, the global
pandemic situation but lets not linger too much on that.
There’s obviously a ton of helpful recommendations and tips out there for improving your general living
space while we’re all stuck inside, but the thing that’s really made a big difference for me has been
having plants in my space. Here are some of the main reasons why I feel like having plants in my space
has improved my quality of life as I’m confined to my one-bedroom condo.

 

Air Quality
A thing that you hear a lot is how having plants inside improves the air quality in your home because
your little leafy friends are removing toxins from the air. For some reason, I didn’t fully believe this until I
started accumulating my own houseplants. Not only is this just scientifically undeniable but I notice the
difference. I moved into a new condo recently and a lot of my old plants didn’t survive the mid-January
move (I cried real tears). It took me some time to get settled before I could replace them and I can
honestly feel the difference in how fresh the air in my condo is now that I’ve started growing my
collection again.


Mental Health
Now more than ever it can be hard to find proactive ways to take care of our mental health. Normally if
I’m feeling down or stressed, I’ll take a walk in the park or try to spend time with friends. Those options
aren’t really on the table anymore. Bringing some greenery indoors is a solid alternative to being
outdoors nowadays when a walk in the park means trying to navigate social distancing regulations too. It
might sound a bit weird, but personally I also find it nice to have plants around just to have direct daily
contact with other living things. I’m not saying that tending to plants is a replacement for human
interaction but in the absence of daily chats with friends and coworkers, nurturing my plants in lieu of
human relationships does actually calm my anxiety.


Productivity
Multiple studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between plants and productivity.
Findings on the subject have shown that exposure to greenery in the workplace can contribute to employees taking fewer sick days, improved moods and even contributing to overall productivity. With
most of us stuck working at home for the foreseeable future, there’s no better time to get on the
houseplant bandwagon. Like I said earlier, I’m not willing to buy a bunch of stuff for my temporary
workstation that I likely won’t need this time next year. However, the positive effects of being
surrounded by greenery will be a bonus even beyond the current work from home mandate and I’d
consider it a worthwhile investment.


Natural Humidifiers
I don’t know about you, but this winter has left my skin so dry, I’m basically the texture of a Nature
Valley bar. Fortunately for me, plants release most of the moisture they absorb back into the air. Every
home is bound to be a little different, but if you often find yourself waking up with a sore or dry throat,
you might want to try adding some plants throughout your bedroom. I know a lot of folks who share this
struggle, and I’m sorry but a humidifier is like 75$ and not nearly as nice to look at as a leafy frond.


Noise Reduction
One of the unique results of working from home for me has been the realization that my condo is not as
soundproof as I thought. It’s nothing crazy, but being home 24/7 gives me ample opportunity to fixate
on the periodic soundscape of my home; the bus stopping outside, the muffled footsteps of my
neighbors, or (worst of all) the mysterious creaking of my 100 year old building. For me, the worst are
the noises that are just loud enough that I can hear them.
Indoor plants have been proven to absorb and refract sound which means they could help reduce noise
in your home. The dream would be to install a full on, floor-to-ceiling moss wall in my living room –
unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen for me. That being said, depending on the size, shape and
arrangements of plants in your home, you may be able to reduce high-frequency noise pollution in your
space.


The ~Aesthetic~
Now that you’ve spent this much time reading about the researched benefits of plants in the home, I’d
be lying if I didn’t admit that the reason I first got into plants is because they’re such a vibe! For
someone like me who’s design expertise does not go much further than YouTube tutorials, plants are
the guaranteed easiest and most beautiful way to decorate your space. I cannot tell you how many
busted, dumpster-grade rental units I have lived in that I managed to make feel comfortable and
Pinterest-y simply by throwing some plants around.

Possibly my favorite part of being a plant person is how much I’ve learned and how strongly I’ve come to
care about my plants. There’s a really knowledgeable community of plant-lovers out there who have
created all sorts of resources to get you started if you’re not sure where to begin. Once it’s safe to
gather in groups again, I’m sure you’ll find that your indoor plants are actually great conversation
starters, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be asked to write a blog post about the benefits .

 

Alma Talbot
I graduated from Concordia with a BA in Creative Writing in 2015. My work has been featured in, The
Town Crier by Puritan Magazine, PsychNSex journal of Psychology and Sexuality and a handful of
Canadian lifestyle blogs. Since graduating, I now work in video game production. I am also the proud
adoptive parent of many houseplants and one rambunctious cat.

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