Kamal Meattle gave an interesting TED talk about using plants to produce enough oxygen to support people in sealed buildings . The combination he advocates is Areca Palm for the living-room (four shoulder-high plants per person), Mother-in-law’s Tongue for the bedroom to produce oxygen at night (six to eight waist-high plants per person), and Money Plant to remove formaldehyde and other volatile chemicals.
A study by the Indian government has found the health benefits from using such plants in an office environment to give a 20% increase in productivity. It seems reasonable to assume that the benefits would be smaller in a city such as Melbourne which doesn’t have serious pollution problems. But even a 5% improvement in productivity would pay for the cost of installing plants! The Indian research also indicated a 15% energy saving through having less “fresh air”.
It seems that now is not a great time to ask for a pay rise, but asking for more plants to be installed in the office is probably viable.