Plant kept over work desk can reduce stress levels: Study

Work stress
  • Stress-reduction at the workplace is a pressing issue in today's times.
  • Though the complete avoidance of the condition is inevitable, a recent study conducted in relation to the stress levels of employees in a workplace suggests that the placement of small plants near the work desk can reduce some degree of the stress levels.

The study from the University of Hyogo in Awaji explains how a small plant situated within easy viewing can reduce stress in office workers.
The researchers of the study, Masahiro Toyoda, Yuko Yokota, Marni Barnes, and Midori Kaneko explored the practical use of indoor plants to boost mental health among employees typically the ones who are removed from exposure to healthy green environments.
It is a well-known fact that plant life often brings mental peace but this study scientifically verifies the degree of psychological and physiological impact induced by indoor plants. The researchers took it to the real office settings and calculated stress reduction on employees.
The findings are published in their article "Potential of a Small Indoor Plant on the Desk for Reducing Office Workers' Stress" published in the open-access journal HortTechnology, by the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Toyoda adds, "At present, not so many people fully understand and utilize the benefit of stress recovery brought by plants in the workplace. To ameliorate 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 experiment was done with sixty-three workers in Japan to track the psychological and physiological changes before and after placing a plant on the worker's desk.
The researchers measured psychological stress in the participants using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The ratio of the participants whose pulse rate lowered significantly after a 3-minute rest with interaction with their desk plant proved definitive.
The whole point of the study was to verify the stress-reducing effect of gazing intentionally at a plant in a real office setting when a worker felt fatigued during office hours. Both passive and active involvement with plants in the workplace were considered for their contribution to the mitigation of stress and fatigue.
Participants had both passive (visual access) and active(taking care ) involvement with plants. Furthermore, the researchers considered that intentionally gazing at the plant was, though not involving physical movement, active interaction with plants that office workers could do quickly and easily at their desks.
Participants were open to choose their preference for the plant and kept it near to their work desk.
The calming effects calculated during the study showed that anxiety decreased significantly from pre to post intervention. The researchers suggest that placing small plants within close sight contributed to psychological stress reduction across the board.

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