Researchers from the University of Hyogo in Japan have published a new study that suggests bringing plants into an office environment has a real, positive impact on the mental health of employees.
“At present, not many people fully understand and utilise the benefit of stress recovery brought by plants in the workplace,” lead researcher Masahiro Toyoda said. “To improve 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.”
The researchers tested the theory on over 60 different people, across multiple offices in Japan. The subjects’ anxiety and stress levels were recorded initially for a control period without plants.
Afterwards, the subjects were asked to care for a small plant and take short, three-minute breaks if they found themselves stressed or overwhelmed.
Using a measurement called the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, researchers found that the workers were less stressed and fatigued after the introduction of greenery. Also, the subjects’ anxiety levels dropped notably, suggesting that indoor plants and flora have a calming effect.