Less stress? Put a plant on your desk

Some succulents at the counter, a vase with a bunch of flowers in full bloom or a terrace with garden. Green workplaces are booming and rightly so. According to a new study, plants in the office have a positive effect on the mood and stress of employees.

For a long time, it was thought that a pleasant working environment should be ‘lean and clean’, with as few distractions as possible. But people are moving away from that. A lot of companies are now introducing flex places with cozy lounges and coffee corners. And they fill up the area with plants. A good idea, say Japanese scientists from the University of Hyogo.

Bonsai or cactus?

Masahiro Toyoda and his colleagues wanted to investigate the psychological and physiological impact of plants. Until now, this had only been investigated through experiments in a lab. Thirty-six employees took part in the study and were required to rest for 3 minutes behind their desks if they felt tired.

During the first weeks, no plants came into play. Only later, they had to take care of a small plant. The participants were also allowed to choose which plant to put next to their computer: an aerial plant, bonsai, San Pedro cactus, leaf plant, kokedama, or succulents.

During the study, the employees also had to fill in a questionnaire to measure their stress levels, and their heart rate was checked. In this way, the scientists were able to find out that both looking at the plants and taking care of them helped the employees relax. This applied to all employees, regardless of their age or the type of plant. The results were published in the journal, American Society for Horticultural Science.

It is not the first time that the positive impact of plants on mood has been demonstrated. A study by Wageningen University has shown that plants contribute to a more positive feeling, increase employee satisfaction and reduce absenteeism.

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