When I started this business and had to design the work space, I was adamant about having a living wall. Originally this was because I felt bringing greenery into the space was important, helping the office to look more appealing.
Working with Tobias Jahn from Urban Gardenscapes to put in the living wall was a great experience, but clearly I didn’t know until after the installation that living walls were more than just an eye-catching design element. After hearing about the proposed health benefits of living walls, I had one of those “Look at what I did! (by accident)” moments and purposefully took more time to learn about living walls in work spaces.
Benefits of Living Walls at Work
Reducing Pollution and Irritants in the Air
Plants help improve the air in an office environment by filtering harmful pollutants and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. With our sometimes hot, dry, smokey summers a living wall is a welcome addition to air filters and air conditioning to make sure we have comfortable, clean air to help workers focus.
Don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at this study that found living walls could have a significant impact on the gaps between large buildings (‘urban street canyons’), which are a notorious hotspot for pollutants.
Improve Office Productivity
Have you ever been in a work meeting that goes on for so long that it seems like all of the air has been sucked out of the room? It turns out that it just might be for real! A recent study showed that meeting productivity, collaboration, and decision making abilities were all reduced in office environments with poor air quality, especially in long meetings. Improving air flow and introducing plants are two easy ways to promote good air quality—and we take both seriously at Makeshift Work Space.
Having a clean, nice, well-organized office space is important, but it’s crucial to find the right balance between clean and clinical. A recent study of large offices in the UK and The Netherlands found that the presence of plants in the office increased the self reported focus and satisfaction of office workers, as well as perceived air quality.
Going beyond a few potted plants, having a living wall that brings fresh air to the office, and acts as a calming presence and soothing design element can help you focus and be more productive.
Balancing Natural Humidity
A living wall will help to naturally regulate humidity both indoors and outdoors through all seasons. Interior and exterior installations release much-needed water vapor into the environment to maintain a healthy level of moisture in the air. Over and above the natural humidity regulation, a living wall cools the air during the summer months and reinvigorates it with moisture during the winter for a more stable transition. These important properties can help bring increased comfort to folks working and living in a sometimes stark urban environment.
Everyone has worked in offices that have loud, echoing rooms where you can’t seem to escape the noise. Living walls have the added benefit of reducing the sound level in any environment. Foliage of the plants is known to absorb and reflect acoustic energy changing the sound profile of the room. Indoor living walls can have a significant impact in reducing the amount of distraction from noise, making for a more comfortable environment for everyone.
We wanted our space to be comfortable and inviting and our living wall is just one part of how Makeshift Workspace provides a clean, comfortable and healthy work environment for our coworkers.