We’ve all seen how a few well-positioned plants brighten up a work space. But bringing some green into your office setup has benefits beyond simply looking nice. Here are our 5 reasons to keep a plant at your desk:
1. Improved Air Quality
According to studies by NASA, growing live plants can help clean the air and even improve your health.
Harmful molecules are lurking in the air all the time, particularly in an office. There may be many different chemicals gathered in a small space, such as permanent markers, glue, computer duster, or even the furniture: chemicals used to treat fabric, cardboard, formica, and plastics can infiltrate the air and cause health problems over time.
Thankfully, plants can help mitigate the harmful effects of airborne chemicals. They absorb harmful gases through their roots and leaves, and actually transform them into oxygen!
2. Reduced Anxiety
In 2011, Master’s environmental psychology student Helen Russell at Surrey University in the U.K. found scientific proof for an idea she had long perceived to be true –that plants in the office can reduce stress.
In the study, Russell asked participants to take a difficult test in a room filled with plants, and compared their skin conductivity, heart rate and blood pressure with people who completed the same test without plants.
Overall, Russell’s findings showed that plants eased stress for participants, and that participants recovered from stress more quickly in a plant-heavy environment.
3. Increased Productivity
In a study similar to the one mentioned above, the “Journal of Environmental Horticulture” published a study from Washington State University which reported that live interior plants helped workers complete tasks with more focus and efficiency.
The study asked workers to complete a simple task on a computer in a room with plants and compared their performance with workers who completed the same task in the same room without plants.
Findings showed that productivity increased by 12 percent in the presence of plants. Also, people tested in the room with plants reported feeling about 10 percent more attentive after the task than those tested without plants. Interesting!
4. Increased Comfort and Sense of Well-Being
The recommended humidity range for human health and comfort is between 30 and 60 percent, but many offices fall short of these figures, especially in the summer and winter months. Low interior humidity can lead to increased fatigue, respiratory discomfort, dry skin, and an overall drop in workplace well-being.
Many studies have established that when plants are added to a room, the humidity rises significantly, but not excessively. Do you sometimes get dry nostrils, dry mouth, or itchy skin at work? A plant or two near your workspace might make all the difference!
5. Increased Environmental Awareness
In addition to improving your office environment, caring for a house plant every day at work reminds you of how important it is to care for the Earth and why nature is such a vital part of our lives.
Each time you water your plant, let your mind wander to what you love about the Earth. Maybe this will even inspire you to choose other eco-friendly activities during the workday, such as conserving paper, and water.
Note: If your office or cubicle isn’t near a window, you can still keep plants with a desktop “sun lamp” such as this one from Amazon.
Julia Workman, CYT
Julia is an experienced yogi, teacher and dancer with a passion for health. She is an integral part of the Maine Wellness Partners team of wellness professionals, providing yoga and fitness classes, in addition to powerful workshops that guide busy people toward healthier work/life integration.