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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Morrison > County Horticulture Educator > Articles > Plants Provide Benefits to your Office Space

Plants Provide Benefits to your Office Space

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
December 6, 2017

Submitted by: Brenda Postels
Interim Extension Educator-Horticulture
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns & Benton Counties

Plants Provide Benefits to your Office Space
By Brenda Postels, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (12/06/17) — Does your office ever feel stuffy or artificial? Adding some green to your workspace can fix that!  Office plants help sharpen your focus, improve your health and purify the air. Having a plant in a room for just one day can remove up to 87% of toxins! The statistics below reveal science-backed benefits of bringing a little bit of nature inside. Creating a healthier (and more appealing) office space is as simple as bringing in the right greenery. 
Reduced Stress
Numerous studies have shown that having plants in your office reduces stress levels, even up to 60 percent. Even just the visual benefit of seeing greenery from the plant helps you to feel less stressed, more relaxed and centered. When you’re less anxious you’re less likely to become angry or irritated at those around you. That’s a win all the way around!
Improved Health
There is evidence that plants in the office can reduce sickness and, therefore, absence due to sickness. In a study done in Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60% in offices with plants.  The positive effect of plants on health could be due to the fact that they increase moisture levels in the air. Plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in.  Plants have been shown to reduce coughing and dry, dehydrated throats and skin.
Improved Air Quality
Indoor air can be as much as 12 times more polluted than outside air due to compounds in paints, furnishings, clothes and building materials.  Plants can make your office a healthier, more enjoyable place to be by improving air quality. They can remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins every 24 hours, according to NASA research.  Airborne chemicals, dust, mold and bacteria can all be filtered from the air with plants, helping you and your coworkers breathe easier in your workplace.
Increased Productivity
Not only do plants help you be more relaxed at work, they also can help you be more productive. Studies have shown that simply having plants in an office can increase productivity by 15 percent. Having a plant in your line of sight at work can help you mentally engage with your surroundings and get more done.  A study in England found that students demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness when they’re taught in rooms containing plants.
Increased Creativity
Plants can help you be more creative in the workplace as well. Having a space that includes visual elements can help encourage your mind to think creatively as well as encourage the expression and sharing of opinions, leading to a more collaborative and creative workplace.  Texas A&M University did a study and found that workers who were in a room with two potted plants and a bouquet of flowers generated 13% more ideas than workers in a room with sculptures.
When choosing a plant for your workspace, make sure it’s suitable for the area — you don’t want a high-maintenance plant, one that grows too quickly or anything that needs a lot of natural light.
The first step to choosing the perfect plant is to determine light levels and space. If your office is windowless or you rely on fluorescent lights, you won’t want a plant that requires a lot of sun. You also have to consider how much space you have available for the plant, and how much care you are willing to provide.
For more information on choosing and growing indoor plants for your home or office go to: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/houseplants/

Contacts

Beth Berlin
Extension Educator, Horticulture
(320) 255-6169
adam0062@umn.edu
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