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Exclusive research shows the impact of plants on work productivity

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
The exclusive interior designs of Casa Decor. Photo: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Plants are important to productivity and can have a dramatic effect on mental and physical wellbeing says new research on the impact of plants on British workers — who on average spend 92% of their time indoors.

That’s according to new exclusive research seen by Yahoo Finance UK by the independent members club Arboretum, which champions the power of plants. The group commissioned a survey of 2000 UK adult respondents, which were calculated as nationally representative.

The report found that 53% of Brits say being around plants when working makes them happier and positively impacts their mental health and wellbeing. Over a third actually go as far as saying that different plants have different psychological, physical and emotional effects on them, ranging from their smell to how they look.

The survey results fall neatly in line with a range of studies out there that have shown the benefits of having plants indoors. For example, there was a significant reduction in stress amongst workers when plants were introduced to their offices, according to a 2010 study by the new University of Technology, Sydney.

Another study by the University of Exeter, UK in 2014 showed that employees’ productivity increased 15% if work environments are filled with just a handful of houseplants. Meanwhile, a study by the Agricultural University of Norway found that there was a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health, including fatigue and concentration problems, when plants were introduced to the working environment.

“Numerous studies have continuously highlighted the power that incorporating plant life into our everyday spaces has in promoting our mental health and wellbeing,” said Ronald Ndoro, founder of Arboretum.

“Given this, and the amount of time that we spend within the workplace, it is growing increasingly important for businesses to consider how to incorporate plants and greenery within their working spaces, for the benefit of their employees.”

Arboretum’s report also found:

  • 57% of Brits believe that London is a polluted and overly concrete place to work 
  • 33% of Brits believe London’s green spaces are the most congested and crowded in the world
  • 23% of Brits believe that London is the greyest city in the world

“Millennial burnout and mental health is a growing epidemic within the UK workforce, especially in large cities such as London where it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of dull and greyscale environments,” said Ndoro.

“At Arboretum, we value and respect the power of plants and highlight their usage in promoting creativity, wellbeing and mental health benefits far beyond that of aesthetic.”