The month of March flipped the economy — and the entire world — on its head, as COVID-19 spread across the country. An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that the impact of the outbreak is leading to even more elevated levels of worry and stress at home.
Many employees have now shifted to working from home on a daily basis. As a result, the lines between work life and home life can be extremely blurry, especially for those who aren’t used to it. With everyone cooped up amid the pandemic, the “workplace” probably doesn’t have the same feel it used to.
So how can you make your home office an environment that helps ease your anxiety?
One way to do that is to purchase plants for your home office. They add color and life to any space, making it feel more natural. Studies show that incorporating plants in the workplace reduces employee anxiety and even increases happiness.
A home office is supposed to be a place where you can go to feel at ease and get work done. Consider how adding some plants to your home office could help you feel less stressed and more productive.
plants for anxiety: the science
Incorporating plants in any environment can bring people closer to nature. Interior plants make people feel better, both physically and mentally. The benefits of having plants in the workplace have been studied by scientists with some interesting results.
For example, one study examined how a plant on the desk of office workers may affect physiological and mental symptoms of stress. Two subjects were compared: one completing a computer-related task, and another transplanting an indoor plant. Those interacting with the plants “felt more comfortable, soothed, and natural” than those working solely with computers.
Another study supported the notion that it’s beneficial to have plants around while working. These results showed that employees who worked with a small indoor plant on their desk had a significant reduction in their physical stress levels (measured by blood pressure and heart rate) as well as emotional relief.
A study published in an Australian science journal estimates that by placing plants in your workspace, negative feelings of stress and anxiety can be reduced by up to 60 percent!
boost feelings of happiness
Plants can potentially reduce physical and mental stress and increase positive feelings of relaxation and happiness.
In addition, where you are working from can play a major role in how you feel while working. Is your office in the basement? Stuck in a room without any windows? Consider putting yourself at least within eyesight of more nature.
One study published in the American Society of Horticultural Science’s journal found that approximately 82 percent of employees who work in offices with plants and windows rate their experience at work as “very happy” compared to only 58 percent of employees who work in places lacking plants and windows.
In ‘The Economics of Biophilia,’ it’s noted that:
…humans hold a biological need for connection with nature on physical, mental, and social levels, and that this connection affects our personal well-being, productivity, and societal relationships.
Properly incorporating plants into a space, the authors state, can even affect our “societal relationships.”
Humans have evolved alongside nature and alongside one another. Plants serve as visual and physical objects that help you feel close to your coworkers, no matter where you’re located.
plant solutions for mental health
Working from home can be stressful under lots of circumstances, nevermind the current pandemic. It may seem extra stressful at the moment, but one simple way to help ease your anxiety is having plants around you while you’re working.
Take it from the doctors: prescriptions for the outdoors have been written in the U.S. and the U.K. Combing the beach for shells or walking through the woods sounds great, and maybe that’s something you can do off hours. But doing that on a Zoom call is probably not advisable. Adding some plants around your home office can act as a potent proxy that brings us closer to nature.
As you can probably guess, your options vary widely. If you want to keep maintenance to a minimum, you might want to consider Pothos, Philodendrons and Snake Plants. Certain plants offer air purification benefits that might catch your eye.
No matter what you go with, plants in your home office can help you feel less stressed and more connected to your coworkers.
Check out our blog and plant care pages for some more information about what could suit you.
To learn more about why indoor plants are so beneficial, no matter where they are, check out our ‘Why Plants?’ page. We’re here to help if you’d like to roll out desk plants for all your WFH friends, family and colleagues.
For employers or managers looking for ways to engage their teams from home, we also offer virtual team building events as well as corporate gifts for your employees’ home office.