If you’re thinking of adding plants to your home work space, succulents are a great option. The benefits of succulents in the office are numerous, from aesthetic considerations to mental health benefits and increased productivity.
But before you rush to the garden centre, let’s look more closely at these benefits.
How can succulents help you? Which ones should you buy? And how do you care for them?
What are succulents?
Succulents are plants that are able to store water in their leaves, stem or roots in order to survive periods of drought.
The most famous type of succulent is probably the cactus. But there are lots of other succulents available too.
What are the benefits of succulents in the office?
The benefits – or supposed benefits – of succulents fall into four main categories:
- Physical health
- Mental health
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Physical health: Are there any health benefits to having succulents in the office?
Many people claim that succulents can improve your health by removing pollution (specifically VOCs – “volatile organic compounds”) from the air and adding oxygen.
VOCs are pollutants given off by burning fuels and from products such as paints and cigarettes. Health problems caused by VOCs include headaches, dizziness and – following long term exposure – liver and kidney damage, and even cancer.
Unfortunately, it appears this is a myth sparked by a widespread misunderstanding of a NASA study.
The other benefit you will often read about is plants adding oxygen to the air. Again though, the health benefits associated with this are often exaggerated. Plants actually add a negligible amount of oxygen to a room, so they’re unlikely to have a significant impact on your physical health.
Note however, that we say physical health. There is much stronger evidence that plants can improve mental health.
Mental health: Succulents may not improve physical health, but they do improve mental health
It’s well established that spending time in nature improves our mental wellbeing. Spending time stuck indoors – perhaps sat in the same small home office for several hours per day – can therefore have a serious negative psychological impact.
So, what if you bring a little bit of nature inside?
You won’t get the benefits of a walk in the countryside, but adding plants to your office can help.
A study by Psychology Today found that plants can reduce anxiety and stress and lower blood pressure.
Productivity: Less stress can mean better productivity
The same Psychology Today study found that plants can make you more attentive, increase job satisfaction, and improve your perception of your surroundings.
Other studies have also shown that plants can help with concentration and memory.
All of which adds up to make you a happier, more productive worker!
Aesthetics: Succulents brighten up your office
All this talk of improving health and productivity shouldn’t distract us from one very obvious and simple benefit of succulents in the office: They look nice!
Even if succulents don’t improve your health, or if you aren’t particularly looking for a productivity boost, it can still be a good idea to add them to your home office.
Home offices can be sterile environments filled with plastic, metal, documents and IT equipment. Succulents will offset this to some extent, adding a much-needed natural touch to your work space.
Benefits of succulents in the office vs other types of plants
You may have noticed something while reading through this article. The genuine benefits of succulents could equally be gained from any other type of houseplant.
Yes, succulents improve your mental health, productivity, and they make your office look great. But other kinds of plant will do that too.
And the one benefit that succulents supposedly do particularly well – removing pollutants from the air and adding oxygen – is actually based on a myth.
So, in conclusion, there are definitely benefits to adding succulents to your office. However, you could equally choose another type of plant instead. We do recommend adding plants to your work space, but feel free to choose whichever type you like best!