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Reducing stress within the workplace with indoor plants

January 04, 2020

How to reduce stress in the workplace is a big question. Instead of looking for activities to reduce stress, now you can use indoor plants.

Indoor plants can reduce stress for office workers
Indoor plants can reduce stress for office workers/ Ph: Pexels@Serpstat

Office workers are using indoor plants to reduce stress. In fact, these plants can provide stress-reducing benefits and improve working conditions in the office.

Indoor plants benefit mental health for office workers

A study about practical use of indoor plants to boost mental health among employees in the University of Hyogo in Japan was made by Masahiro Toyoda, Yuko Yokota, Marni Barnes, and Midori Kaneko. The results were published in the open access journal HortTechnology. Reduce stress on employees is a big issue in modern society. In this study, both psychological stress and physiological stress will be focused on. Also, instead of conducting experiments in a laboratory setting, stress reduction was calculated on employees in real office settings. This study aims to provide evidence for stress-reducing benefits of plants because not many people think that they can use indoor plants to relieve stress.

Passive and active involvement with plants in the workplace

Researchers put a plant on the worker’s desks, then investigated changes in psychological and physiological stress before and after. Sixty-three office workers in Japan were involved in this study. The workers chose and cared for their plants. They were directed to take a 3-minute rest when they felt tired or stressed.

Any involvement with plants, no matter if it is passive or active were considered for their contribution. When participants put plants conveniently on their desks, it was considered as a passive involvement. When they cared for the plants, it was considered to be an active involvement. Additionally, a quick look at the plant without touching was an active interaction that they could do quickly and easily at their desks.

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The best indoor plants for stress relief they could choose were air plants, bonsai plants, san pedro cactus, foliage plants, kokedama, or echeveria.


The results were positive as anxiety decreased significantly from pre- to post-intervention. That means small indoor plants could be economical and helpful to improve office conditions for employees.

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