If you’ve ever wished you could work outside, you’re not alone. Being out in nature not only makes us feel good; it also has health benefits.
Unfortunately, working outside isn’t feasible for most people, especially this time of year.
Luckily, you can get a lot of the same benefits by bringing the outdoors in—in other words, adding more plants in the workplace.
Need proof? Here’s the surprising research.
Benefits of Plants in the Workplace
For the majority of human existence, we spent most of our time outside. We hunted. We gathered. We farmed. Now, in the post-industrial era, most of us spend the vast majority of our days inside.
But we’re still wired to crave the outdoors, said Leigh Stringer, a workplace strategy expert and author of The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line.
In Japan, this idea of spending more time in nature has taken off as a trend called “forest bathing,” which encourages employees to get outside more often during the workweek. Workplace leaders have found that spending even one extra hour each week immersed in nature improves employees’ moods, reduced stress and increases happiness.
But you don’t need to wander deep into the woods to experience these benefits. Just bringing natural elements like plants into the workplace is good for our health and well-being.
A recent Harvard study found people who were exposed to nature while they worked were more productive and experienced lower levels of stress.
Another study by the University of Oregon found that just having a view of the trees reduced the number of sick days employees took each year.
The Best Plants for the Workplace
When you’re bringing plants into the workplace, your best bet is to choose hearty, low-maintenance varieties. Air-purifying plants that naturally absorb toxins are also a good idea, since many offices can become stuffy and polluted by everyday activities.
(Of course, it’s also nice to have something beautiful to look at each morning.)
Keeping all these factors in mind, here are a few of the best plants for the workplace:
Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to maintain—just water them once a week with ice cubes. And with proper care, they’ll rebloom for years! Orchids also remove xylene from the air, so they’re a good choice if your office has recently been repainted.
Succulents don’t take up a lot of space and thrive with minimal care. You can keep several in one planter or decorate your desk with several smaller ones.
Money Tree Plants
The money tree plant is said to bring good fortune and luck, so it’s great for any office. Another bonus: money trees will continue growing for years!
In addition to being gorgeous, anthuriums are the world’s longest-blooming plant. Their flowers can last up to eight weeks with proper care.
Having plants in the workplace can help ease stress and boost employee productivity and morale. They’re also a cost-effective way to purify the air and improve the appearance of your workplace.
In other words, it’s a win for everyone!