Plants: your new favourite coworker

Improved mood and health are some of the many benefits to bringing greenery into a workspace

Gardening has its benefits, like cleaning the air and reducing the risk of anxiety, depression and stress. So why not bring the garden indoors to your work setup? 

Whether it’s in a home office, a make-believe classroom or at the breakfast table, keeping plants can help spruce up your workspace and emotional state. Here are some of the many benefits to having foliage keeping you company while working.

Attention and concentration

In an experiment, researchers measured the psychological advantages of having green plants near the participants. The researchers had subjects study in the presence of a live plant, an artificial plant, a photograph of a plant and without a plant. A test to monitor electrical activity of the brain showed that live plants improve attention and concentration compared to the other options, as well as “relieved their visual fatigue.”

Creativity and productivity

Plants in a workspace can increase both creativity and productivity. A study found that people were able to make word associations more easily with plants in the room and individuals with indoor plants had less work stress and took fewer sick leave days.

They’re nice to look at

Floral patterns and nature displays can have a large effect on human emotions. A study found participants experienced more positive feelings of confidence, composure and relaxation when being in the same room as flowers, compared to their feelings before entering the room. 

The bright colours of plants can also help boost moods. Green-yellow, bright green and dark green plants stimulate positive emotions including happiness, calmness and cheerfulness.

Screen fatigue

Since most people are studying or working from home, the number of hours being exposed to blue light has steadily increased since before the pandemic. The blue light from our screens is known to invoke stress responses from our brain. 
A Canadian health report from 2020 shows that 65 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women who decreased their screen time said their mental and overall health was very good or excellent. This is in contrast to the 57 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women who reported good mental health with increased screen time.

Overall happiness and wellbeing

A paper describes humanity’s love for nature and plants as “biophilia”—an evolutionary human trait that naturally inclines people to the biosphere and environment. Aside from the known emotional, psychological and physiological benefits that keeping plants can have, they also offer a companionship that is similar to caring for pets. Taking care of living beings and seeing them grow helps to reflect on personal growth. 

Keep these benefits in mind the next time you are choosing plants from your mother’s garden or the local nursery. Whether it’s for classes, meetings or any other productive session, be sure to keep some greenery nearby—they’ll serve as a breath of fresh air!

About the author

Reporter at Youth Mind

Khaleda is a former reporter for Youth Mind. If she's not daydreaming of owning a bookstore cafe, she's most likely pining over pretty classic book covers.

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