- Scientists from the University of Exeter found plants aid concentration, increase productivity and boost staff wellbeing by 47 per cent at work
- They conducted a study at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show to compare people’s effective output across different types of business space
- The researchers found allowing staff to make design decisions in a leafy workspace can increase productivity by 38 per cent
11:02 EST, 6 December 2013
15:44 EST, 6 December 2013
A pretty pot plant might make a clinical work space feel more personal, but new research has revealed that office plants do so much more as they can help staff be more creative and productive, which could ultimately result in promotion.
At work, humble houseplants have been proven to aid concentration, increase productivity and boost staff wellbeing by 47 per cent, according to a study undertaken at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
The results showed that allowing staff to make design decisions in a workspace enhanced with office plants can increase creativity by 45 per cent and boost productivity by 38 per cent.
The results from the study show that allowing staff to make design decisions in a workspace enhanced with office plants, can increase creativity by 45 per cent and boost productivity by 38 per cent
The study, designed by the Identity Realisation research group at the University of Exeter, in association with Indoor Garden Design, compared people’s effective output across different types of business space.
A total of 350 visitors to the horticultural show were asked to measure their creativity, happiness and productivity in four differently designed work environments in a series of 90 experiments.
The researchers believe their findings 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.
Previous studies have shown plants improve health, happiness and productivity
Psychologist Dr Craig Knight from the University of Exeter said: ‘We have previously shown that designing your own workspace improves health, happiness and productivity.
‘It was time to go a step further and see whether the principle can also be applied to creativity and indeed whether the very act of designing the workspace can be used effectively.
‘Results at the show demonstrated how creativity can be increased by 45 per cent through improving the psychological well-being and design of a working environment.
‘The results from the Chelsea Flower Show experiment indicate that plants, in a well-designed and personalised office environment can boost business effectiveness through improved staff productivity and creativity.
‘This gives company managers a real incentive to share control of office space with their staff and create meaningful, less didactic and more grown up space.’
Plants have previously been proven to have positive effects in hospitals, where patients with pot plants close by said they experienced less pain, anxiety and tiredness, while houses with plant-filled rooms contain between 50 and 60 per cent fewer bacteria than other rooms without plants.
Monique Kemperman from The Joy of Plants, said: ‘Scientific studies have demonstrated that we can see a marked improvement in air quality alone, just by dotting a few common houseplants around a room.
The organisation wants to encourage everyone in the UK to add a houseplant to their home and office and claims it will make a ‘significant’ impact to people’s quality of life on a daily basis.
THE BENEFITS OF HOUSEPLANTS
At work: Houseplants are proven to aid concentration, productivity and reduce sick days, according to the TNO Quality of Life study.
In schools: Having plants in a classroom can boost the learning potential for students, according to the Royal College of Agriculture.
In hospitals: Hospital patients with plants in their room have less pain, anxiety, and fatigue, take significantly less pain medication, have lower blood pressure and heart rates, and are happier with their recovery rooms than patients without plants, researchers from Kansas State University said.
In homes: Plant-filled rooms contain 50-60 per cent fewer airborne moulds and bacteria than rooms without plants. They literally suck out chemicals in the air that could be linked to colds, breathing problems and even cancer, according to the Stennis Space Centre.
To the environment: Nasa said houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins in 24 hours.
To our health: Indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 per cent, according to the University of Agriculture in Norway.