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Study finds plants boost workplace productivity

By Antonia: (NaturalNews) Just about everyone experiences lulls in productivity while at work, but a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter, working with four other universities, has discovered that adding green plants to work spaces can change that. The findings show that adding such greenery to office environments can not only increase productivity but also lead to better concentration levels, improve overall satisfaction and create happier employees.(1)

"Although previous laboratory research pointed in this direction, our research is, to our knowledge, the first to examine this in real offices, showing benefits over the long term," said lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis. "It directly challenges the widely accepted business philosophy that a lean office with clean desks is more productive." Nieuwenhuis went on to explain that the productivity levels of two offices in the Netherlands and the UK -- a large call center and a city auditor -- were monitored for 18 months, and ultimately, it was found that productivity shot up 15 percent when otherwise sparsely decorated office spaces were enhanced with the addition of plants.(1,2)

Significant improvements on employee memory retention and similar tests were noted, as was overall satisfaction in the workplace. Additionally, their ability to concentrate improved and some even reported an improvement in perceived air quality.(2)

Forget lean, go green: plants better than sparse work environments

Many of the environments, prior to the addition of plants were shockingly "lean," a term that's become synonymous with productivity, which isn't backed by scientific evidence. The idea is that anything other than the necessary items to complete tasks such as computers, staplers and pens, is distracting and, therefore, is not conducive to an efficient workplace. However, as studies are showing, the addition of green plants creates an environment in which people feel more comfortable, less stressed and are more inclined to feel better and excel at tasks at work.

Dr. Chris Knight from Exeter University said, "What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk. If you are working in an environment where there's something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better."

Of the lean concept, study co-author professor Alex Haslam of the University of Queensland's School of Psychology said that their "research questions this widespread conviction that less is more. Sometimes less is just less."(2)

Best plants for office environments

Plants that are said to be ideal for office environments are plentiful but vary based on each office's lighting situation. For spaces with low light, spider plants and philodendrons are ideal. Areas were light is moderate or primarily artificial, such as in an open-floor office, is good for peace lilies and snake plants, while African violets and aloe plants thrive near windows or in areas where they can get indirect light.(3)

As for aloe plants in particular, consider that have benefits beyond improving productivity and workplace happiness: They can help health, too. Their gel, which resides inside the leaves of the plant and can easily be extracted, possesses antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties which studies have found helps heal wounds, destroys cancer cells, fights inflammation and even keeps blood sugar levels stable in diabetics.(4)

Depending on the particular health need and personal preferences, the gel can be applied topically and even consumed by eating it fresh or adding it to smoothies.

Sources:

(1) http://www.sciencedaily.com (2) http://www.theguardian.com (3) http://www.huffingtonpost.com (4) http://www.naturalnews.com Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/048647_plants_office_workers_productivity.htm...