How to Improve Productivity At Work: This Easy Decor Addition Can Help

Have you ever gotten the feeling that your drab, lifeless workplace was dragging you down? Once again, science vindicates intuition: adding plants to offices increases happiness and productivity, per a remarkable long-term study of real work environments. A team comprised of researchers from the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia tracked dimensions of worker "perception of air quality, concentration, and workplace satisfaction" in both a "lean" office and an office enhanced by the presence of ordinary houseplants. As it turns out, the addition of plants did in fact improve workers' opinions on all three counts, and the plants boosted their productivity by a cool 15 percent. Workers with plants aren't merely more productive, they're happier while they work, too.

This new finding is right in line with previous evidence that plants in the workplace lower workers' stress levels and may alleviate other health-related complaints as well. If you can take some time out of your workday to actually get outside and experience a little nature, all the better: your brain needs downtime to make connections, solidify memories, and prepare for new tasks, and unwinding outdoors provides this opportunity very effectively. Living near green spaces boosts general well-being, and more nature exposure may immediately improve individuals' mental health.

Of course, there are always tradeoffs, though. Plant-related allergies are common, and allergy symptoms will make your life absolutely miserable. Adding a few plants to your office isn't difficult, but living near green spaces in a crowded city may be prohibitively expensive. Money stress could undo all those mental health gains, but moving away from the city for access to green spaces might stick you with an unpleasant and unhealthy daily commute. Still, it may be worth mentioning to your boss that these lean, ultra-minimal offices are the stuff catalogs are made of, not real spaces actual humans routinely inhabit. With 15 percent productivity gains on the table, even the grouchiest of taskmasters might allow for a little botanical redecorating action.

Image: Giphy