A: Yes. The three big toxic chemicals found in offices include trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene. These substances are often in the glues, finishes and laminates found in furniture and walls. Scientifically, plants transpire water vapor and they pull air down into their roots. The roots convert substances in the air, including toxic chemicals, into food and energy that helps the plant thrive. Strange as it may seem, studies show that plants get better at converting toxins into food the longer they are in place.
Q: What is Sick Building Syndrome? Can plants counteract it?
A: Sick building syndrome can result from offgassing of certain chemicals used in office furniture, carpeting, paints and building materials. We don’t use whole trees much anymore. Instead,particleboard and OSB are often used. These are held together with glues and laminates that release chemicals that affect our breathing and health. Most buildings use recycled air, making the situation even worse. While vendors are working on safer glues and paints, they are not always used and there are not always safer choices. Until the problem is solved, you can use plants to help remove some of those toxic chemicals. One of the studies showed there was a 23% lower complaint rate in offices where plants were installed.
Q: I heard plants improve staff productivity – is there any truth to that?
A: Recent studies show participants were 12% more productive in workstations with plants. These workers were also less stressed. Plants soak up carbon dioxide and replace it with fresh air and oxygen, a real brain boost in closed office spaces. Studies showed occupant concentration and productivity are negatively effected when elevated levels of carbon dioxide are present indoors. The carbon dioxide causes people to feel drowsy. But when plants are replacing the carbon dioxide with fresh oxygen, employees feel less tired.
Another reason? Maybe the staff felt as if their employer cared more for them by providing a more pleasing environment in which to spend the day. During the economic downturn, one of our clients said ”We still have our plants and our coffee, I guess we are doing OK.”
Q: Want to improve innovative thinking in the conference room?
A. No matter whether you work in a creative environment or not, creative solutions to business challenges are valuable. A study by Texas A&M showed employees are more likely to experience improved innovative thinking if they’re surrounded by plants. Their study showed that 15% more ideas were generated by participants in an office environment with plants and flowers compared to a group who had no plants in a similar environment.
Q: How can Plant Connection help a business save time and money?
A: You’ll definitely save time using our service rather than doing it yourself. After all, we’re good at what we do. If you head to the big box store to buy plants, you must bring them back, get them from your car and into the freight elevator, and then you’ve got a dilemma-where will you pot them? Then you’ve got to clean out your car when you’re done, and then replace the plants when you discover they have bugs and you really don’t have the time to take care of them.That means you have to repeat the process all over again. That’s not a way to save money!
Indoor plants are needy. There’s no natural rainfall, and they can’t send their roots deeper for water. If you overwater them, the extra moisture doesn’t drain out, so now you’ve got a big mess. Keeping plants alive and beautiful is a task we excel in. Plants have specific needs. It’s hard for an individual to know what those specific needs are unless they’ve learned it. Our. technicians spend 3 months learning all of the plants and their specific requirements.
Plus, plants are not attractive when they’re dying and dead. They project a poor image of your company. And they make people feel bad. If one of the plants we provide starts to look less than healthy, we quickly replace it because we don’t like taking care of plants that look bad.
Q: How often do you come to take care of our plants?
A: Your plants determine our service schedule. Our contract calls for service as needed. We visit the majority of our clients every two weeks. Our tricks of the trade enable us to nudge different types of plants onto the same schedule.
Q: Are your technicians in uniform?
A: Your service technicians are required to be in uniform when visiting you. Our service supervisors will be in uniform when performing maintenance but are not usually in uniform when doing service inspections. Please feel free to ask them for a business card for identification purposes.
Q: Do you use pesticides in our offices?
A: Your plants are cared for using an integrated pest management system that involves keeping plants healthy and stress free so bugs are less likely to be a problem. When we do have pest problems, we use the least toxic methods available for treatment. Our first method of treatment is to simply wipe the bugs off your plant. We then proceed to other cleaning methods using a silicone plant shine or horticultural oil if needed. Sometimes it is best to pull a plant and replace it with a new one.
Q: What happens if my plants die?
A: Per the terms of your service agreement with us, if your plants become unhealthy or unattractive, we bring in a new plant equal to the one that needs replacement. Certain exclusions for things out of our control are listed in your agreement. For plants we are not caring for, we have a 30-day guarantee but would expect you to call us as soon as you begin to have trouble.
Q: How do we get started working with The Plant Connection?
A: As indoor plant and container specialists, some clients want us to come in and handle everything, they don’t want to get involved in the decision making process. Instead, they want us to select the plants and containers, install everything in their office and then let us water, fertilize, trim and take care of the plants.
Other clients want us meet to their design criteria. So, we bring back a proposal that lists the plants we recommend. We also provide samples and colors in a schematic so they see what the space will look like. Once the plans are approved, we do everything but grow the plants. Okay, we do make sure they keep growing! We can also bring in cut flowers, or we recommend using bowls of live flowering plants that are replaced monthly for reception or lobby areas. Most people are surprised to learn that bowls of live flowers are great for budget-conscious offices.
“The plants bring a nice texture to our modern office. It breaks up the clean lines and adds in color and texture.”