Pot Plants for Cube Farm Syndrome

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Pot Plants for Cube Farm Syndrome

Posted By

Anubhav Ghosh

Does going to work make you sick? Do you flinch every time the person across the partition in your local cube farm sneezes? Have you resorted to lashings of hand sanitizer and frequent sickies?

It probably won’t surprise you that studies have found that the indoor air your office, and even your home is giving you is up to 12 times more polluted than outdoor air. The culprits are paints and varnishes, ozone from old photocopiers and printers, pesticides, cleaning products, building materials and even the coolants in your air conditioning system. Dodgy air conditioners that don’t filter out enough carbon dioxide and humidity can make the whole situation much worse.
According to the World Health Organization, indoor pollutants are responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year. Yes deaths! Because more severe cases can set off asthma attacks or ‘irritant pneumonitis’, a form of pneumonia. And because there are people in some countries who burn kerosene stoves and the like indoors….

But still, even for your average office worker, the symptoms are still incredibly annoying; They include sore or itchy and watery eyes, nose, and throat, headaches and fatigue. Sounds a lot like a cold right? You betcha! A lot of ‘colds’ I see in office workers are probably from ‘cube-farm syndrome.’

OK so what do you do? Quit work? There might be an alternative; a study from Uni of Georgia found that putting pot plants in indoor spaces can reduce stress, increase task performance, and reduce the other symptoms of cube-farm syndrome. Pot plants actually remove ‘volatile organic compounds’ or VOCs by a process called "phytoremediation"
The gurus put 28 pot plant species through the ringer and Hemigraphis alternata (purple waffle plant), Hedera helix (English ivy), Hoya carnosa (variegated wax plant), and Asparagus densiflorus (Asparagus fern) were top guns for removing indoor pollutants.