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Beyond the Aesthetic: Plants in the Workplace

Beyond the Aesthetic: Plants in the Workplace

We know that certain plants do a good job of cleaning the air, but research is now showing mental and physical health benefits for people who work among plants. From the tiny air plant on your desk to the towering fern in the corner of an office, plants add more to a space than just an aesthetically pleasing view.

Reduced Stress

While it may seem far-fetched or at least difficult to prove, a Washington State University study showed compelling evidence of employees in plant-filled environments having lower stress levels. “Participants working in an environment with plants present were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than their non-plant counterparts.” Another study by the University of Technology Sydney found even more significant results: a 37% decrease in tension and anxiety, a 58% decrease in depression, a 44% decrease in anger and hostility, and a 38% decrease in fatigue.

More Creativity & Productivity

We decorate our office spaces because beautiful design inspires. We knew this intuitively, but now science supports the idea too. An extensive 8-month study by Texas A&M University split participants into two groups and gave them the same test of problems to solve. According to the results, groups in the plant and flower-filled environments devised more creative solutions and had more ideas than those in the decor-free environments.

Reduced Illness

Surely, plants couldn’t affect workplace attendance, could they? Research by the Agricultural University of Norway found a correlation between decreased illness and plants — specifically, a “25% decrease in symptoms including fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin, and irritation of the nose and eyes.” Decreased illness = higher attendance.

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