It's the emerging trend for workplaces
People who keep a plant on their office desk may benefit from having lower stress and anxiety levels than those who lack greenery in their workspace, a new study published in the journal HortTechnology suggests.
Researchers from the University of Hyogo in Japan examined the impact of keeping indoor plants on the overall mental health of workers. They wanted to find out whether caring for plants reduces the prevalence of negative emotions at work.
Instead of conducting experiments in a laboratory, however, the team tested the theory in real-life office settings.
The researchers selected 63 employees across different offices in Japan, and measured their psychological and physiological stress levels before and after they placed plants on their desks.
Lower stress and fatigue
The experiment was carried out in two parts. The first involved a control period where the workers didn’t have plants on their desks; the second had an intervention period where workers were asked to tend to a small plant.
The participants were also asked to take a three-minute rest at their station whenever they felt stressed or fatigued.
Meanwhile, the research team monitored the participants’ psychological stress levels using a measurement called the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
The team found that the active involvement of workers in caring for office plants and the availability of lush décor in the workspace helped lower their stress and fatigue throughout the experiment.
There was also a noticeable decline in the participants’ anxiety levels, which the researchers attributed to the calming effect of the plants.
The team thus recommends placing plants within close sight of workstations to help reduce stress levels in the office.
“At present, not so many people fully understand and utilise the benefit of stress recovery brought by plants in the workplace,” said lead researcher Masahiro Toyoda.
“To ameliorate such situations, we decided it essential to verify and provide scientific evidence for the stress restorative effect by nearby plants in a real office setting.”