A ‘new world of work’ has arrived. We work flexible hours and we work everywhere, but mostly we work in open-plan offices. This new way of working can affect your health. There is noise pollution for instance, or the lack of one’s own space. What role could green plants play in the new workspace? Indoor landscaping experts provide new ideas and solutions.

A new world of work

  • People are starting to work more and more at home and outside office hours, which means less workspaces are needed. And these will have a more flexible and multi-purpose lay-out, allowing workers more freedom to find a place to their personal taste.
  • Workload is increasing. Offices will be decorated more austerely. An environment with fewer stimuli can improve the ability to concentrate. At the same time, noise pollution is a common complaint as more open-plan offices are taken into use.
  • Because of the bigger workload, timely and well-considered relaxation during breaks have become more important. Company restaurants and other areas for relaxation have a more informal and cosy atmosphere. Meetings with co-workers take place in separate rooms for both formal and informal talks.
  • We want clients to feel welcome by creating attractive and stylish reception, meeting and restaurant areas.
  • Because they regularly work from their homes, workers come to the office less often. But if they do, they want to feel connected to the organization. The interior has the role to strengthen the image and identity of the organisation, to keep a connection with the co-worker. Especially young professionals have a desire to work flexibly in inspiring surroundings.

Less workspaces in austere open-plan offices

Desks grouped next to or across from each other are the new way offices look like. Your bag and coat are locked away, you carry your personal hardware with you (BYOD) looking for a place to work, where your ‘plug in and play.’ This allows the ‘empty desk policy’ to work. Everything is stored digitally, so away with those files, photos and other personal knick-knacks. For one person this can be a very well ordered way to work, for another the place is too crowded and the decoration too bare.

What about our ambitions in achieving a healthy workplace? The mere installation of an air-purifying unit doesn’t get us there. Increasingly, science shows that nature and green plants in the workplace have beneficial effects on the sense of well-being of the office worker. Plants also allow the break-down of hazardous particulates, ensure the supply of oxygen, heighten humidity, improve concentration and creativity and have the ability to reduce the effects of sounds. More than enough reason to using plants when decorating the workspace.

Hall Rabobank Altena

Office for Rabobank counsellors by Altena Annekoos Littel Interieurarchitecten BNI Woerden.

In the classic office every workspace used to have its own potted plant. There is no more room for this in the open-plan layout and it doesn’t always go well with modern office interiors. But what does?

Green walls and green furniture

Green walls are an excellent replacement for the potted plants. They hardly take up any floor surface and improve the indoor climate in many ways. The latest trend is the lichen wall that has sound-absorbing qualities.

greenwall in building

‘Greenwalls’ of the akoestiekfabriek (acoustic factory)


With different colours of reindeer moss inspiring wall decorations can be created. Lichens don’t need water, so there are no water or electricity supply systems needed. Other interior objects can also be covered with reindeer moss, such as a mobile room divider.

Plants on window

Killing two birds with one stone, you can cover a room divider or storage unit with plants. Voilà: a green wall. Or install a windowsill complete with planters. Designers keep inventing new office furniture in which plants can be used.

Green relaxation

Of course, the place where relaxation is important and new energy has to be gathered needs to inspire people.

Four pictures from rooms with lots of plants

Above left: a Green Screen, a natural wall forming a divider between the company restaurant and the coffee machine. Above right: an arrangement with an olive tree and fresh herbs, that are actually used in the kitchen nearby. Below right: an indoor and outdoor experience. These days one also sees glass coves where plants in need of a different or outdoor climate can be placed indoors.

Identity and image

Being proud of the company you work for. Not only of their business results, but also of their image. This is something young professionals especially think is important when they start working. Their line of thought being: ‘This is where I should be, here is where they understand!’

Clients foremost attach importance to hospitality; they want to feel welcome as soon as they cross a company’s threshold. An interior with attention for detail and careful planting says a great deal about a company’s attitude.

Azerbadjan room

So why is green so significant? Flowers and plants give people a sense of security, freedom, peace and quiet, as well as positive energy. This is not a recent insight. For years now, this has been tested and confirmed in many scientific studies. One of the reasons being that man and nature have had a connection since the very beginning of mankind. Just take yourself as an example: immersing in nature with a walk or holiday can give you an incredible amount of energy and new insights. Furthermore, green is associated with sustainability. By using plants, as a company you can symbobilize your concern for our planet and the people it carries. Besides giving you credits for sustainability according to the BREEAM-certification.

How can you make sure that the reception area and the waiting or meeting rooms of your company give positive energy and add extra power to your corporate identity, by using plants?

Tips for the reception area:

  • If people have to wait for an appointment, the combination of a seating and planting arrangement can be a solution. Green exudes calm and this can work de-stressing for any visitor who is a bit tense. This could go for the entrance of a hospital, law firm or a social institution. When you go beyond the customs point at Schiphol airport, there is a waiting room with planted seats, giving an outstanding example of creating a calm atmosphere. On the other hand, planting with an exciting pattern and colour variation can be entertaining, distracting people from the waiting time. A good example for this is Vodafone, who have constructed part of their logo in reindeer moss, creating a true ‘wow’ effect.
  • Desired qualities like sturdiness, elegance and uniqueness can also be expressed with plants. A well-known clothing brand uses a tough looking jungle of plants near their shop windows where their jeans are hanging from the branches like survival tools.

Tips for a meeting room:

  • An outstanding green object can invite small talk, breaking the ice at the beginning of a first meeting.

Green maintenance

Keeping plants is considered to be a hassle, because it takes a lot of work and needs to be done professionally. Not only can outstanding interior planters develop inspiring space, but they can also look after them. They work with maintenance contracts and a plant warranty. This means that all maintenance is taken care of, and your new workspace is not only fit for the future, but will retain it’s fresh green quality.