Laboratory experiments and quasi-experimental field studies have documented beneficial effects of indoor plants on outcomes such as psychophysiological stress, task performance, and symptoms of ill health. Such studies have taken an interest in the value of indoor plants in work settings, but they typically have not considered how the effects of plants might compare with effects of other workplace characteristics. The present study makes an initial attempt to situate the potential benefits of indoor plants in a broader workplace context. With cross-sectional survey data from 385 Norwegian office workers, we used hierarchical regression analyses to estimate the associations that plants and several often-studied workplace factors have with perceived stress, sick leave, and productivity. Other variables included in our models were gender, age, physical workplace factors (e.g., noise, temperature, lighting, air quality), and psychosocial workplace factors (demands, control, social support). After controlling for these variables, the number of indoor plants proximal to a worker's desk had small but statistically reliable associations with sick leave and productivity. Although small, such associations can have substantial practical significance given aggregation over the large number of office workers over time.
Tina Bringslimark, Terry Hartig, and Grete Grindal Patil
M. Adachi, C.L.E. Rohde, and A. D. Kendle
Changes in human emotions were investigated during exposure to three different indoor conditions: floral display present, foliage display present, and no display present. There were 20 subjects (10 males and 10 females) in each condition. The subjects were shown a video that introduced the University of Reading and included scenes of landscapes. It was shown that a floral display had positive effects on human emotions, such as composition and confidence, however, some evidence of a significant increase in annoyance was also found for this treatment. The foliage display had a somewhat negative effect by slightly increasing bad temper, and the foliage display tended to have a positive effect on clearheadedness. Investigations of psychological responses to nature are complex, and many opportunities for more work exist.