Does having plants in the office help us relax?

Nature helps us recover from stress. Office plants are interesting for companies because there often stressful situations.
Nature helps us relax and recover from stress. For companies this is interesting because there are often stressful situations in the workplace. By helping employees to recover, they prevent absenteeism through sickness. While there is not much research done on the effect of nature in the office on employees, it seems that nature is an important way to let people recover from stress.

Nature helps us to relax

Nature helps us to relax, makes us resilient against stress and improves our mood. This was demonstrated by a lot of research in environmental psychology (e.g.. Hartig, Mang & Evans, 1991; Laumann, Gärling & Stormark, 2003; Ulrich et al., 1991). You can even measure this in our physiology; our blood pressure lowers as we look to nature and exercise in it and increases as we see an urban environment (Hartig et al., 2003).

Nature has positive influence on health

Also, there are indications that nature therefore has a positive influence on our health (Health Council ADVISORY, 2004 &). This is according to Kaplan & Kaplan (1989) and Ulrich (1983) because nature helps us relax. This allows us to more easily return to a State in which our thoughts, feelings, Physiology and physical functioning optimally (Han, 2002). Read more about the positive influence of nature on health. Also, there are indications that this positive effect (to a lesser extent) apply to images of nature or plastic plants. It is therefore no surprise that the so called Biophilic Design is becomeing more and more popular in office interiors.

Stress is an important cause of absenteeism

This venomenon is of interest because there are often stressful situations at work or there are mentally exhausting tasks. Stress-related mental illnesses are widespread and a major cause of sick leave and DISABILITY INSURANCE inflow (health ADVISORY Council &, 2004). That is why it is important that workers can recover of these stressful situations in a timely manner. Workplace biophilia is a suitable solution.

Positive effect of nature on Office

Plants in the office can help reduce Psychological stress. Research on the effect of nature in the office on employees (in the form of plants or views of nature) points in the same direction. Employees are more satisfied if there is more view is on ‘green’ elements (Kaplan, 1993). This satisfaction also appears to be related with favorable scores on stress related issues and health. Also, it seems the presence of plants in combination with nice office furniture in Glasgow has a positive impact on health of workers (Fjeld et al., 1998, 2002). 

Conclusion

To be able to draw firm conclusions there is unfortunately still too little research into the effect of plants in the office. Also, some of these studies are methodologically not very well set up. If we look at the studies that are not specifically targeted at offices, then we can generally say that nature has a positive influence on the stress resistance of people.
As people spent a significant part of their working life in the Office, you can argue that it is important to have sufficient nature also in the office. This can be in the form of plants (Fjeld et al., 1998, 2002), images of nature (Kweon et al., 2008) or a view of nature (Kaplan, 1993).

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