Workspace: Technostress, Urbanization & Biophilic Design

Beyond your workspace appeal, having plants in your office is an investment worth making.

Lenzi Hudson
Posted on
October 17, 2022
green spaces leaves
Beyond your workspace appeal, having plants in your office is an investment worth making. "The 2015 Human Spaces report, which studied 7,600 offices' workers in 16 countries, found that nearly two-thirds (58%) of workers have no live plants in their workspaces." (CIPHR).

Would You Believe Me If I Said Plants Have So Many Benefits In Relation To Your Mental Health?

If you answered yes, you're absolutely correct. Luckily there is research behind the positive impact greenery can have in your workspace and mental health.

#1 Reduces Stress

laptop on a desk

The level of stress people experience at work varies based on your profession, where you work, whether or not you perform physical labor... you get the idea. One major factor to stress at work is technostress. According to Oxford Language's definition, technostress is "stress or psychosomatic illness caused by working with computer technology on a daily basis.". By no surprise, it is extremely common for most professionals to experience this form of stress as the world becomes more virtually focused. This is where adding indoor plants into your office can act as a remedy to the result of being glued to your computer all day.

Fun Fact: "85% Of A Person's Life Is Spent Indoors." (Discovery Magazine)

Based on a study by J Physiol Anthropol, staying in "contact with plants is an intuitive and nonverbal activity that can provide psychological stability and comfort by stimulating four senses in various ways. Indoor plants have drawn the attention of the scientific community because of their various benefits: they enhance job satisfaction in office workers, reduce psychological stress, improve mood states, and enhance cognitive health. These effects can positively affect resistance to diseases and chronic stress.". If you believe you've experienced this technology induced stress, adding a plant in your office just might be the cure.

#2 Life In The City

city skyline

It's common for professionals who reside and work in a city to crave more greenery. There are many studies to support the benefits that come with surrounding yourself with more plants. Plants cleanse the air. For everyone with a small office space, adding a natural element will promote your well-being. According to the article, How The City Affects Mental Health by,

"The physical and social environments of urban life can contribute both positively and negatively to mental health and wellbeing. Cities are associated with higher rates of most mental health problems compared to rural areas: an almost 40% higher risk of depression, over 20% more anxiety, and double the risk of schizophrenia, in addition to more loneliness, isolation and stress.".

Stay cognizant of the environment you're working in and enhance your space with natural elements, not only to design a desirable ambiance, but to accommodate with your physical/mental health as well.

#3 Biophilic Design

laptop on desk with plants

Having plants in your workspace can have a positive affect on your mental health. Humans have an innate instinct to connect with nature and other living beings. This tendency is referred to as biophilia. Caring for your plants is a form of connecting to nature. Nature generally generates peace and calmness which happens to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and increase attention and productivity.

According to, The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, " In today’s contemporary built environment, people are increasingly isolated from the beneficial experience of natural systems and processes. Yet it is often natural settings that people find particularly appealing and aesthetically pleasing. So, by mimicking these natural environments within the workplace, we can create workspaces that are imbued with positive emotional experiences. It is often the case that we don’t take enough time to immerse ourselves in nature or appreciate the living systems that exist everywhere around us, making it vital for us to incorporate nature into our day-to-day environments.".

As the world continues to become more urbanized, offices and businesses are shifting their environments to bring nature to you. In a digitally focused world, the act of planting allows you to live in the moment. After a day glued to your laptop and endlessly refreshing your social media timelines, taking a second to water your plant and acknowledge life outside of work and the internet is necessary and extremely refreshing.

Okay So We Convinced You To Get A Plant! Where Do You Start?

Which plants are the most suitable for your office?

The amount of sunlight your office space offers and your availability to meet a plant's water needs, will determine which plant will be the best fit for you. If you work in a low-light office space, I'd suggest a snake plant. These are perfect for someone searching for a low-maintenance plant, in this case you'd only have to water once a month. Another suggestion I have for those of us who don't have large offices but still want to add some greenery to their space: hanging potted plants & air plants are perfect. These are both easy to take care of and aesthetically pleasing while taking up minimal space.

indoor plants on desk

Here are a list of ideal low-light office plants:

• Aglaonema – Chinese Evergreen
• Alocasia – Elephant Ears
• Anthurium – Painter’s Palette
• Aralia
• Dracaena
• Philodendron
• Podocarpus
• Epipremnun aureum - Pothos
• Spathiphyllum – Peace Lily
• Zamioculcas zamiifolia - ZZ plant
• Dieffenbachia

"But, I Don't Know How To Take Care Of A Plant..."

No worries! Lucky for you, all you need is a little sun & water.

Plant Care

Taking care of a plant can seem like a daunting task at first. In between zoom calls and tackling your endless to-do list, here are a few plant-care tips from Denver Botanic Gardens that will keep your favorite office plants healthy & thriving.

water droplet on leaf

1. Watering

The best way to tell if plants need water is to test how dry the soil is. Stick your finger about an inch down and feel the soil. If the soil is dry, it needs a good watering, if it is still moist you could give it a light watering, if the soil is soggy you need to let it dry out before watering again. After a while you will be able to tell just by looking at the plants and soil if it needs water. When watering, water all the surrounding soil along with the base of the plant. If the soil around the plant is left dry it will act as a wick and dry your plants out quicker.

2. Sunlight

All the suggested plants should do well with the light conditions in your space. Medium-light plants near the window and low-light plants in the rest of the building. If plants are only receiving light from one side, you can rotate the container so that the plant will grow evenly.

3. Humidity

The indoor environment is dry and can be hard for many houseplants that thrive with humid surroundings. Every week or so spray leaves with a fine mist. This will provide the plants with a little extra humidity and keep the leaves clean from dust.

It’s time to design our workplaces to cater to our mental and physical health. We come from farmers, nomads, and environmental scientists. Which means the closer we get to our roots, the more we can nurture ourselves, our community and the impact on the world. But it starts with a plant.

sunlight on leaves

Lenzi writes blog articles for Green Spaces