week we want to highlight a great new article in the magazine
Officing Today – Plants in the Office, Beyond Well-Being. It mentions
another one of the great benefits of plants in offices – that being the
sound dampening effects. As you may have heard, sound is becoming issue
with the large open space offices that are becoming the norm at least in
the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, the orchestra of tapping fingers on
keyboards, conversations between colleagues, people talking on phone,
and the squeak of moving chairs can add up to roar in a room of several
hundred with hard surfaces amplifying everything. This makes focusing or concentrating difficult to say the least
for the workers.
a result, companies are starting to use plants to absorb and
deflect/defract the sound. It is actually a quite effective and a
relatively inexpensive solution to the issue.
around plants in office space is not new. Biophilic design approaches
have been around for a while and various studies, as well as stats have
shown that it’s beneficial to have green life around you while working.
of this talk, however, has solely focused on well-being in the office:
plants help direct and guide energy in spaces; they help balance each
individual’s energy among electronic devices; the color green visually
suggests relaxation; plants improve air flow, which leads to better
moods and improved concentration, ergo more productivity.
a doubt, work space providers have abundant reasons to add green
elements to their spaces, for the sake of well-being and (let’s be
honest) for the sake of marketing as well. And if you’re still not yet
fully convinced, we’re about to give you another reason to include
plants in your office space-especially if you’re an open work space
of plants absorbing energy, but that’s not all that they absorb.
Somewhere among all the talk about well-being and energy talk, noise was
left out and lost.
Open work spaces have been highly criticized for the high noise levels present
in them. In fact, this might be the number one issue going against open work spaces and one that deters many from trying them out. Noise is
unavoidable; the sound of fingers typing away, the screeching sounds of
some chairs, vibrating phones, people on video calls, colleagues working
together, people snacking, air vents, heating systems-there’s no end to
we don’t expect work spaces to be noise-free, we do believe most members
want lower noise levels. There are various way to approach this; during
construction with construction materials, when laying out the space and
deciding on furniture, including light noise absorbing materials like
foam, and, today’s pick, using plants strategically.
There are three different ways in which plants can help reduce noise levels:
roots, leaves, trunks, stems all absorb sound. Rough bark and thick,
fleshy leaves are most effective for this type of noise reducing
approach. Plants help reduce noise through this method by reducing or
entrapping vibration and reverberation levels. These types of plants
work best in spaces that have various hard surfaces.
when sound waves hit plants instead of walls, the waves transform into
different types of energy, allowing for the energy to deflect into
sound refraction helps to reduce or eliminate echo in spaces. Plant
refraction works a lot like carpeting in a home; using plants to cover
surface areas can help eliminate echos by preventing sound waves from
this in mind, there are different ways in which plants can be placed
and used to help reduce noise levels. Think about distributing plants
around your space instead of placing them all in one location.
Consider positioning taller plants in big containers in corners and edges to prevent sound waves from bouncing and vibrating.
can also choose to include small plants so that workers can place them
around their individual work space in order to minimize the amount of
noise traveling around.