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Can plants really impact the wellbeing of staff and guests?

Hotel decor typically includes anything from wall art to water features, or sculptures to pot plants – but what purpose do they serve?

While many decorations have the ability to brighten one’s mood, or make them feel more at home, some are more functional than others. Have you ever considered what the humble pot plant could do for your hotel, guests and members of staff?

More than meets the eye

Plants look great. They’re a great way to fill a space, add some colour to a white room, or inject some personality and design flair into a lobby or bedroom. While it’s become increasingly popular to use plants in restaurants, cafes, homes and businesses for their visual appeal, plants have significant air purifying qualities, and a proven capacity to impact people’s general wellbeing.

Most will be familiar with the phrase ‘going outside for some fresh air’, and the saying rings particularly true in this instance. Indoor environments have been proven to carry more pollution than the outdoors, posing a health risk to guests, staff and anyone else frequenting your establishment. According to research undertaken by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Research Group, this is caused by a combination of trapped outdoor air, as well as indoor pollutants such as cleaning chemicals, cooking fumes, residual smoke, or heating – all of which are volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Thankfully, the easiest solution to removing potentially harmful VOCs from the air of your hotel is to introduce plants. Plants work day and night, absorbing and degrading the pollution from the air, and introducing clean oxygen back into the environment, while simultaneously balancing carbon dioxide levels. This is particularly important in establishments using constant air conditioning.

While plastic and silk plants are aesthetically pleasing, might seem like an easier option, and often look (or even feel) like the real deal, a visual ornament simply won’t provide the full benefits that authentic living plants have to offer.

Improving the working environment

According to the studies undertaken by UTS, plants promote general wellbeing, and can even increase staff mood and performance.

Staff who occupied a workspace with plants showed between 30 and 60 percent less stress, while staff who did not work in a space shared with plants reported an increase of 20 to 40 percent in negativity. Results also indicated a significant decrease in sick days taken by those who shared a work environment with plants, meaning that hotels with plants could also possibly experience an increase in staff productivity.

Plants don’t have to be hard work

With such a range of indoor plants available, it’s simply a matter of finding a plant that will be happy in the space it’s required. Consider plants that thrive in indirect sunlight, need infrequent watering, and demand minimal pruning and upkeep. Alternatively, Australia has a number of indoor plant services which can provide plant hire and upkeep. Jump on Google and seek out professional advice about what plants are suitable for your space, and where you can hire plants and maintenance.

With plants rising in popularity, a number of innovative planters and products are available on the market, including planters with inbuilt self-irrigation systems. These can be set to a specific plant type, allowing it to receive the correct amount of water at the correct frequency.

Have you considered…

Living green walls. Plants are increasingly being used in unconventional ways, creating a feature that looks great and serves an equally great purpose. Living green walls are made from modular plastic tiles that can be hung on a wall to display small plants. Ideally, when the plants grow large enough, the plastic tiles are covered, leaving a feature wall that is fit for purpose both in or outdoors. Inbuilt self-irrigation systems make these easy to maintain for the visual appeal and general benefit of hotel staff and guests.

Plants that create a ‘vibe’. If your hotel is in tropical Queensland, for instance, plants such as potted palms can go a long way to bring the outside ‘vibe’ indoors. Equally, in areas that experience a cool, dry winter with deciduous trees, lush indoor plants can create the feeling of a warm oasis, and an escape from the harsh outdoors.

Hanging plants. The last thing you want to do is overcrowd your lobby or guest room with plants, furniture and ornaments. To save space, or simply for visual appeal, consider hanging plants from the ceiling. This approach is particularly popular with ferns, which thrive in humid environments like bathrooms, or to provide fresh air and greenery in a restaurant without creating obstacles around crowded tables.

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Lauren Butler

Lauren Butler is a junior journalist here at accomnews. You can reach her at any time with news, opinions and submissions.

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