Plants in the work place are scientifically proven to improve productivity and happiness, not to mention brightening up an otherwise dull office environment. We asked Sophie Lee, plant expert and founder of botanical styling company geo-fleur, to share her top tips on greening up your office space, as well as how to keep your new work plants alive…
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit more about geo-fleur and how it came about?
So I was working full time at MOO, and got made redundant out of the blue, so decided to take the leap and do my own thing! My mum is a florist, so I’ve always been helping out with weddings and events, and thought there was a gap in the market (3 years ago) for indoor greenery for people who live in small urban flats, that want little beautiful ceramic pots with mini cacti and succulents inside. The rest is history!
Do you think there are benefits to having a work plant or two?
Oh definitely – there was a report in 2015 in Australia that recorded and tested employees that were suffering with depression and stress, and then literally filled their desks with plants, and two months on they felt 70% better. Now that’s scientific proof! Obviously it’s great to have a few pots and plants on your desk to create some office desk jealousy!
How would you suggest displaying your work plants?
So it’s great to do some dangling hanging plants on the top of bookshelves. I’d suggest using something like the string of hearts or the fishbone cactus, both hardy low maintenance plants that just need misting once a week. They are great sculpturally and give a good textured effect to the top of those boring bookshelves!
If you’ve got a bright windowsill with lots of space, it would be great to start propagating plants, and make it an office challenge to start growing a pilea peperomioides or a spider plant as they are so easy to keep alive. Plus, as they produce so many babies its great as you can then take the babies home and fill your house with plants too!
Which plants would you recommend for a working environment?
So there are certain approved NASA plants that are great for taking the nasties out of the air, especially near computers, and help purify the air and remove carbon dioxide and formaldehyde. Such plants are boston ferns (which would look great in a lovely geometric planter) a peace lily or a sansevieria. You could bulk plant them together – so say 3 or 5 of the same variety plant in one plant pot – which then makes it a great statement planter.
What are your top tips on how to care for your work plants?
Don’t let everyone water them! What often happens in an office is that multiple people water the same plant, then they get overwatered and shrivel up so the best thing to do is to nominate one person to do the watering and caring for the plants. The key is to mist the plants regularly, but only water once a week. The sansevieria is great as it can survive without water for three weeks!
What does your working environment look like?
It’s organised chaos! I try to keep a clean space with a large boston fern on my desk. It’s great to keep me feel zen! I’m constantly surrounded by plants and often covered in soil, unless im designing some new products for our new winter collection, which is when my desk is covered in notebooks, and lots of cups of espresso!
Any top productivity tips?
Do one thing at a time! I’m forever being asked questions about an online order, or how to plant something, so I constantly get distracted. My tip is to keep finish the task at hand, then move onto the next. I’ve also created a tech free room in my house which is heaven!
Working from home? Make sure you have the nicest home office furniture to show off your house plants to full effect.