Detox Your Office Air with Live Plants

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

Small details can make big improvements to your work space, and besides thinking about how much back support your office chairs need or which wall colours simulate the most creativity in your employees, you may also want to choose plants carefully. In addition to creating a soothing, natural environment, plants can help to clean the air in your office.

The Importance of Air

As you know, you literally cannot live without air, but the type of air you breathe throughout the day can have a huge impact on your productivity. In particular, studies indicate that poor outdoor air quality can negatively impact worker productivity. Other studies show increased mistakes, longer time to handle service calls, and similar issues when office air quality is compromised. When the source of the air pollutants is removed or an air purifier is added, however, workers seem to breathe easier and accomplish more.

Purifying Plants

All plants help to clean air, but there are particular types of foliage that are especially efficient at this job. Boston ferns, for instance, help to remove pollutants such as formaldehyde from the air. This can be surprisingly common in offices, as it is often found in insulation as well as the glue holding particle board desks and shelves together. Ferns are also relatively hardy, and they can likely survive the weekend without watering if you water adequately during the week.

If you prefer something more stylish, consider a rubber plant or a peace lily; both of these plants have similar purifying abilities as ferns. Alternatively, consider giving your employees a bit of fresh air and a taste of the tropics with a miniature potted palm tree.

Tax Considerations

The Canada Revenue Agency allows small business owners, including self-employed individuals working out of their homes, to deduct business expenses on their tax return. When you buy a plant for your office, you may opt to deduct the expense as a business expense. Because it is not a recurring expense and you are likely to have the plant for a few years, you should include the cost in your capital cost allowance.

Alternatively, consider giving a small plant to each of your employees to set in their cubicles. In this case, you can write off the cost of the gift as a business expense, but your employee doesn’t have to report the value of the gift as income. However, you must give the gift for a holiday, birthday, or other special occasion. If you just give your employee a plant to celebrate a random Tuesday, your employee has to report its value as income.

Other Actions

While purifying plants can offer huge advantage to offices, you may want to take additional steps. Consider removing and replacing old carpet. It is notorious for harbouring offensive chemicals or pollutants. Additionally, consider adding a mechanical air filter, increasing how often you dust, and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. All of these changes can have a direct impact on the productivity of your office, and as a result, these changes can help your bottom line.

References & Resources

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