Bring Plants into the Office

A recent study found that having potted plants in the office to be “good for your health.”  This research was reported in an article in the Daily Mail, which discussed specifics of health improvements from the plants.  These included a reduction in: “fatigue, stress, dry throats, headaches, coughs and dry skin among workers.”  Dr. Tina Bringslimark, an environmental psychologist, led the team from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and Uppsala University, Sweden that undertook the study.

In the study, 385 office workers and rates of sick leave were assessed vis-à-vis those who had plants at their desk and those who did not.  It found that those who could see plants from their desks ended up taking less sick leave.

Plant Benefits

So the question is why is it so much better for one’s health to sit at work with a plant in view? According to the study, “one explanation is that plants and the microbes in their soil are good at removing volatile, organic compounds that can affect health.”  But Dr. Bringslimark also believes that there might be a “psychological explanation” since people see plants as healthier and are thus more “likely to evaluate their own health more optimistically.” In addition, a report from Washington State University found that for windowless office workers, potted plants are “particularly beneficial.”
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Bosses: Get Plants, Get More from Your Workers

Other research led by Dr. Virginia Lohr, found that those workers with potted plants had a “12 percent quicker reaction time,” than those without.  As well, these workers were, in general, more productive, feeling less stressed and having “lower blood pressure.”  Thus in conclusion Lohr noted that “common house plants can contribute to lower stress levels,” and dust levels at work can also be reduced by the addition of foliage plants since “large foliage surfaces produce most oxygen and help decompose toxic substances in the air.”