Thinking about “sprucing” (pun intended) up the office? Recent studies have shown that if you have plants around the office – you are benefitting in more ways that one. Every office needs something colorful: whether it be different colored walls, unique carpeting, modern-looking desks, or fun desk trinkets – these things break up the sometimes monotonous workplace environment. An often overlooked and underutilized office accessory, however, are plants – which may be the most beneficial of all.
Recent studies have shown that plants can aid in concentration, help increase productivity and boost staff wellbeing by 47 percent. Also shown was that in offices where staff are allowed to make design decisions, creativity and productivity increased by 45 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. These numbers come from a study – conducted by the University of Exeter – in which employee output was measured and compared across different types of business space. Nearly 350 visitors to the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show were asked to measure their creativity, happiness, and productivity in four differently designed work environments in a series of 90 experiments. The findings, according to the researchers, “demonstrate that plants are not unnecessary elements of business environments and add weight to other studies, which indicate plants increase psychological comfort and business performance.”
Beneficial Outside of the Office
As you may have guessed, having plants around the office is just one of the many benefits they provide. Further benefits of including plants in your everyday life include:
- The Classroom: According to the Royal College of Agriculture, plants may increase learning potential for students.
- In Hospitals: Compared to hospital rooms with little-to-no plants, patients with plants in their rooms experience less pain, anxiety and fatigue, take less pain medication, have lower blood pressure and heart rates, and are more pleased with their recovery rooms.
- In the Home: Rooms with plants contain 50-60 per cent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms with no plants. Plants filter and clean the air, reducing chemicals linked to colds, breathing problems and even cancer, according to the Stennis Space Centre.
- Our Overall Health: According to NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins within 24 hours, and can lead to reduced fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 per cent.
How Else Do Plants Help?
If you haven’t rushed out to the nearest greenhouse to buy yourself a desk plant yet, there are plenty more research studies that show how else being around plants can benefit you throughout your daily life.
- Increased Concentration and Memory: Tasks – located near or around nature – are performed better and with greater accuracy, ultimately generating a better result. Adding to that, being within or near nature can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 per cent.
- Increased Smiles: Office flowers and plants increase a persons mood and reduces the likelihood stress-related depression.
- Improved Relationships: Research shows that those who spend extended periods of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. The exposure to nature and wildlife increases people’s compassion for each other and for the environment in which they live.
Read about these – and more – benefits at the Texas A&M University website.
Do you keep a large crop of plants in your office? If so – why? If not – why? Based on these research findings, are you headed to your nearest florist over your lunch break?