Numerous academic studies have proven the positive effects that office plants can have in indoor environments. But can regular office plants really help when it comes to reducing office noise?
The answer is yes, providing you know what you're doing. For example, one small lonely office plant on the end of your desk is not really going to have much impact on noise reduction, strategically positioned office plants or planted office displays can however help you to dim sound levels significantly.
Plants have been used fro many years externally to help reduce the levels of traffic noise from reaching offices indoors. Recent years have however, seen an increase in the number of office plants being used inside business premises as a means to reduce the levels of noise generated inside a building.
If you find your noisy neighbour on the next desk more annoying than the drum of cars outside you will be pleased to hear that indoor office plants can also absorb or reflect background noise inside office buildings. Not only does this create a more comfortable workplace for employees but is also potentially more profitable for employers as employees that are less distracted should arguably be more productive.
Office plant parts can actually break up sound waves resulting in a change of direction, thus a reduction in the frequency of the sound. A study at the South Bank University even showed that common house and office plants could help to reduce noise levels by as much as 5 decibels!
The research carried out by the South Bank University in London, looked into the benefits of plants on acoustic levels and showed that plants were, in general, more efficient at absorbing noise at high frequencies. In comparison with other building materials the plants proved themselves superior with specific praise going to the Dracaena Marginata and the Ficus Benjamina.
In another study published in 2000 conducted by Professor Gary Evans and his colleague, Dana Johnson, a former graduate student of Cornell University, found that even low-level noise in open plan offices can lead to higher levels of stress and disruption amongst employees. The study looked at 40 women who were assigned a position in either a quiet office or an office with low-level noise for exactly 3 hours.
Once the time was up the women were tested and asked questions and it was found that the women in the noisier office were slightly more stressed and agitated than those in the quieter office. The results also showed that employees in noisier environments were less likely to attempt unsolvable puzzles than those in a less distracting environment.
Once you have made the decision to install office plants it is important that you give the foliage a fair chance by ensuring that you position indoor office plants in the correct location alongside choosing the right plants for the environment to begin with.
Office plants from a professional interior landscaper is one way to solve both of these problems at once. The planted office displays provided by office plant specialists will be carefully planned and thought out before being installed and potential issues such as location and sound frequency will be considered throughout the assessment.
Research in this area has shown that in general office plants work better at reducing sound frequency in offices that have hard, reflective surfaces such as marble, tiled, or exposed concrete floors. The number of large windows or doors will also affect how significant the noise reduction will be. Office plants located in soft furnished carpeted areas with thick carpets or panelled walls will be less likely to have any effect on noise levels.
The position of office plants is vital if you are trying to reduce office noise as plants placed near the corner of a room are far more likely to have an impact on noise levels than those in the centre. This is because sound is often reflected form the walls and back into a room, if foliage is placed along the wall the sounds will hopefully bounce or diffract into the office plant and not into the room.
Office plants then, are not just for decoration but have real benefits for both employees and business profits and their potential should not be drowned out by all that chatter and traffic noise.
Fosters Breathing Space specialise in supplying indoor and office plants for plant displays to brighten up offices, showrooms, and special events. Visit http://www.breathing-space.co.uk for more information.