The New Meeting Must: A Growing Trend in Remote Work

One of the many benefits of the work world moving remote, besides of course only having to get the top half of you dressed, is the ability to create an intentional workspace of your own that inspires and motivates you. Going full interior designer on your work-from-home office promotes productivity while showing off your personal aesthetic, especially on Zoom! For those who have transitioned to working remotely, Zoom has been a (somewhat) easy and convenient way to connect with your co-workers, bosses, and clients all from the comfort of your home.

Most of us are usually preoccupied with our appearance right before those important Zoom calls, but what about how our surroundings look? One of the most effortless, yet beneficial ways, to spruce up your Zoom backgrounds is by adding a little greenery to the mix! With the houseplant trend taking off throughout 2020 and into 2021, it only makes sense to incorporate our leafy friends into our new at-home workplaces. Let’s get into everything you need to know to take your virtual interior to the next level with PLANTZ!

Zoom Staging

With the majority of people staying home more over the past year, Zoom has become the new norm for staying in touch- whether it be for work meetings, catching up with family, or having a virtual happy hour with some friends. While friends and coworkers are certainly eager to see your face, they’re also definitely paying attention to your surroundings and how you live. Zoom backgrounds have gotten so relevant that there’s even been a Twitter account, Room Rater, created with the pure intent of rating people’s virtual workplaces!

So what all goes into staging the ultimate work-from-home office for your Zoom meetings? Besides plants, of course, which we’ll get more into later, there are a couple of home office essentials that can instantly boost a Room Rater score- and your productivity!

  1. Background: Obviously the most important factor of your dedicated office space is the background that appears on your tiny screen. A houseplant is still our number one suggestion no matter what room you’re transforming into your workspace- but adding some pieces such as a bookshelf or small table with books, candles, artwork, etc. can really go a long way. Try to avoid having a blank wall background, as it doesn’t show any sort of personality or who you are! Your Zoom setting should be simple, yet still have some personal touch.
  2.  Storage: Let’s be honest- nobody wants to jump on a Zoom call only to be distracted the entire time by a co-worker’s leaning tower of files. Even if you’re going for the minimalist aesthetic, invest in some type of organized storage for your office to keep everything looking professional and tidy in your meetings. A clutter-free workspace will help you stay productive and organized, while allowing the others in your Zoom call to focus without any chaotic distractions.
  3. Lighting: Pretty much anything is an upgrade from the fluorescent lights used in most office buildings (good-bye migraines!), but that doesn’t mean that the lighting in your home office doesn’t matter. Aim to set up shop near a window for natural light, or invest in a lamp with bright white lighting. Try to stay clear of softer or warmer colors that are better suited for relaxing rather than attempting to make it to 5 o’clock.

Benefits of Indoor Office Plants

Now that we covered the logistics of staging the best Zoom backgrounds, let’s discuss the main character- plants! Houseplants are the green officemates that you never knew you needed. Not only do they serve as trendy decor, but they also come with an impressive amount of health benefits.

Plants have been shown to significantly affect our well-being by boosting our immune systems, improving motivation and productivity, and reducing stress by up to 37%! That’s not all folks- plants can also fight cold and flu symptoms, cure headaches by producing more oxygen, and lower blood pressure as a result of less stress. These factors all contribute to Biophilic Design, which is the idea that the human love of nature brought into a design movement within workplaces and homes can provide a sense of calm while promoting a healthier, more productive lifestyle!

As if you weren’t already sold, plants can remove toxic emissions and purify the air around them! A NASA study found that indoor plants help detoxify the air by reducing volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) including formaldehyde, acetone, and benzene- all of which are known to cause health problems such as headaches, sore throats, nausea, and even damage to the kidneys and central nervous system. Air-purifying plants can even help you get a better night’s rest since they clean the air while you sleep- now that’s something we can’t pass up.

Our Favorite Office Plant Suggestions

There’s no denying that houseplants are a necessary tool for survival, both during and after office hours. Whether you have the space for a wide-reaching tropical tree or a tiny desktop succulent, shade or shine- we have just the Zoom-worthy houseplants for you.

Low-Light Workspace:

  1. ZZ Plant

We’ve gone ahead and nicknamed this one the EZ-ZZ, because of just how easy it is to care for! Perfect for even the busiest remote workers, the ZZ Plant is so low-maintenance that killing it would actually be rather hard. All that it asks for is a moderate amount of indirect light, a few sips of water, and very little attention. The ZZ isn’t fussy in the least- if you forget to water for a few weeks, it’s quick to forgive and will bounce right back after a nice shower.

  1. Snake Plant

These NASA-approved air purifiers are both easy on the eyes and easy to maintain, making them a prime candidate as a prop in your Zoom calls. The Snake Plant has upright, sword-like foliage that will instantly add charm and character to even the dullest of spaces. While they aren’t fussy about their lighting and can grow in the shade, these plants will really thrive when placed in a brightly lit corner or desktop.

  1. Giganta

If you’re looking for an easy-going plant that will add a pop of color to your work-from-home office, look no further than the Giganta. Distant relatives of the Corn Plant, this Dracaena is 100% foliage with 0% fuss. It doesn’t require very much attention, light, or water making it a coworker that you can definitely get used to. It’s also highly rated for its ability to remove harmful toxins and pump out some quality oxygen! 

  1. Aglaonema

Also coined the ‘Chinese Evergreen’, this plant has been adored by both interior designers and plant parents alike. With a variety of different leaf sizes, shapes, colors, and variegation patterns to choose from, we’re positive you’ll find one that fits your workspace aesthetic. They’re also ranked super low on our care difficulty scale, being able to go weeks between waterings and adapting to most lighting conditions.

aglaonema close up
Aglaonema
  1. Lisa Cane

This graceful plant from Hawaii fits well in tight places and is one of the best performers in low-light conditions, making them a must-have for even the most spatially challenged home offices. The Lisa Cane is extremely elegant and classy for how low-maintenance she is- you could forget to water this plant for a month or two at a time and it will still manage to make heads turn on Zoom!

Bright-Light Workspace:

  1. Areca Palm

The Areca is a tropical palm that will instantly transform your Zoom background into an island getaway- if you have a bright enough spot for it. Also known as the Butterfly Palm because of its arching yellowish-green leaves, this palm can create a vacation vibe in any well-lit room it inhabits. The Areca is definitely a heavy drinker and will require a lot of love- but if you choose to invest in this plant, you won’t be able to resist pouring up your favorite cocktail as soon as your work meeting is over.

  1. Ficus Microcarpa

Brother to the Fiddle Leaf Fig, this great Ficus plant is sure to make your Zoom  friends green with envy. The Ficus Microcarpa has a single trunk and glossy-green leaves that almost look plastic, making it a very chic and modern addition to your home workspace. Give it the right amount of light and a good dose of H2o when needed, and this plant is sure to be the new focal point during all of your meetings.

  1. White Bird of Paradise

If your goal is to leave everyone in your Zoom call completely speechless, there’s no other option than the White Bird of Paradise. This stand-out plant is an absolute showstopper, with long, dramatically arching leaves that will make your office look straight out of a home magazine. The White Bird does have some pretty significant light and water requirements, which is rather expected from a plant of such elegance.

  1. Warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’

This is a great Zoom plant.  Its variegation makes it a bright and colorful addition to your Zoom background.  It can tolerate medium light levels, but thrives in bright light where it’ll keep its characteristic lemon yellow and lime green stripes.  Don’t be surprised if you get a few private messages about this one – if it’s in your background, other Zoomers are going to want one too. 

Warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’
Warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’

No matter which plant you pick, it will definitely demonstrate your unique personality and add interest to that last Zoom call of the day.