"Green" Workspaces = Healthier Workspaces!

Just this month, Steve Famulari published an important new book entitled Ways of Greening: Using Plants and Gardens for Healthy Work and Living Surroundings. This book focuses on rethinking working and living spaces and understanding how "greening" can make them healthier and their occupants happier. It teaches how to see unique ideas for spaces and some of the materials needed to create the designs. In addition, it gives readers a way to not only understand greening but to understand how to see greening applied to their place. 

When I spoke with Stevie this month, I asked her: "What are some of the ways in which ‘greening’ makes working spaces healthier?" Here is her complete answer:

Work spaces as well as home spaces are where people spend much of their time. These are spaces where people need healthy surroundings to be inspired, be safe, be creative, grow, and move forward toward their dreams and goals. Greening these spaces can help people in this. 

Having a space with at least 10% of the surface space of the room with living thriving plants improves air quality allowing people to be healthier with each breath. There are also studies that have found that being in green spaces improves people’s memory while studying, improves productivity, reduces the amount of time for people to heal, and reduces stress.

Be creative in designing your workspace and allow it to change over time as the interior garden grows and responds to the light and objects in the space. You can design your own green wall to fit your space which includes plants with colors, shapes, and scents that you enjoy. Using scented plants such as lavender or mint can enhance your space. Some scents such as lavender are helpful for relaxing, while others such as mint are helpful for reducing headaches. Scents have a close correlation with memory. A scent can help people recall a memory from their recent past or from a distant past. Using plants with scents while studying or preparing for presentations, and then having the same scent at the presentation can help people recall what they studied or researched for presentations.

By creating designs that are unique to the space, using green walls, and having plants that have bloomed randomly throughout the year, the site you create with your unique living garden changes and grows with colors and forms daily. Seeing change and growth happen naturally on a daily basis in green office surroundings encourages people to accept change in their lives with more ease and grace.

What do you think of Stevie Famulari's perspective on how "greening" affects workspaces and their occupants? Has your company incorporated these types of improvements in their office locations? How have employees reacted?