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CareersIt’s always nice to see plants and greenery in the workplace. Not only do they serve an ornamental purpose, they are in fact known to create a healthier, more conducive workplace and also to significantly boost productivity.

There are a number of benefits of incorporating plants and greenery in the workplace. Studies have shown that common ailments including sore throats, headaches and coughs are less likely to occur in spaces where there are indoor plants and greenery.

In a study conducted at the Washington State University, researchers found that office employees who were surrounded by plants had significantly lower blood pressure readings compared to people who worked in environments devoid of greenery.

According to a study carried out at the Winterswijk Tax Office in the Netherlands, having plants in the workplace increases attentiveness and concentration while boosting performance. This was found to be especially true for workers who performed a majority of their tasks at computer terminals.

Not only is green foliage pleasing to the senses, it exudes positive energy and encourages positive thoughts; studies have shown that plants have a calming effect and boost workers’ morale while reducing stress. What’s more, plants are also effective at absorbing sound thus reduce disruptive ambient noise in a workplace.

According to research conducted at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, employees are more content when working for an environmentally friendly company. The research also mentioned that there was “no evidence of a significant relationship between employee satisfaction and firm financial value.”

Almost 75% of organisations in North America are striving to incorporate the practice of maintaining plants in the workplace. So it’s worth the effort to try it out in your own office as well. Place potted indoor plants in the reception and waiting areas, meeting rooms and, most importantly, in your cubicle or office. Bamboos, money plants, rubber plants and certain varieties of palm work best.

– Mehreen Ahmed
The writer is a project coordinator and dress code mentor at a multinational company. mehreen.ah@gmail.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 21, 2013.