Greenery ‘can reduce psychological, physiological stress’
A new study has found that the presence of small plants at work can help boost the mental health of employees.
“Having opportunities to gaze intentionally at nearby plants on a daily basis in the work environment can reduce the psychological and physiological stress of office workers,” says the study done by Masahiro Toyoda, Yuko Yokota, Marni Barnes and Midori Kaneko of the Graduate School of Landscape Design and Management at the University of Hyogo, in Awaji, Japan.
“The adoption of greenery into the office environment is becoming widespread as the need for improving mental health becomes greater.”
The study used 63 workers to “verify the stress reduction effects of the presence of small indoor plants on employees in a real office setting.” Participants were asked to take a three-minute break and look at the plant when they reported fatigue (passive participation).
“The results suggest that if employers would provide active encouragement for workers to take three-minute ‘nature breaks,’ the mental health of their employees would improve,” says the study.
Participants were also encouraged to take care of the plants, which was considered active participation. Two tests were taken during the study, that measured psychological stress at the end of the day. Pulse rates were taken twice per day as well.
Researchers found that 27 per cent of the people showed a significant decrease in pulse rates, while 14.3 per cent showed a significant increase. A further 58.7 per cent showed no change.
While plants may be a good idea in the office, another study showed that many managers would not approve of pets being allowed in the workplace despite the potential for mental wellness.