7 Reasons You Need to Get a Desk Plant

It may seem as though your workspace is no place for decoration — you’re supposed to work there, after all. But personalizing an otherwise cookie-cutter office can make a world of difference in how happy you feel while you’re on the job. No better accessory encapsulates those smile-inducing effects than a potted plant.

In fact, it turns out that little bit of green can go a long way for you in terms of both mental and physical health while you’re at work. Don’t worry — we have the evidence to back that statement up, too. Here are seven reasons your desk needs a plant.

1. It’ll Make You More Productive

It may sound crazy that a little leafy plant can make your workdays more fruitful, but research has shown this to be true. One study from Exeter University looked at office workers who had previously been working in a completely stark, clean and undecorated office. Once researchers placed just a few green plants around the workplace, the workers were 15 percent more motivated and productive.

Other studies have found that workers make fewer errors, work faster and concentrate harder when they have a desk plant, too. If your boss implements a décor-free policy for your desks, these may all be great statistics to point to when petitioning for the right to personalize your desk with decorations.

2. It’ll Remove Toxins From the Air

As you work, your desktop plant will be working, too. Just like the trees and plants living in the great outdoors, your potted accessory will breathe in any toxins and CO2. NASA discovered in 1989 that the plant will then breathe out purified, clean air. Your plant can also help reduce the amount of dust, bacteria and mold in the air, too, thus making it even healthier to inhale.

With cleaner air, you might also notice that you become sick less and call out less frequently. This again boosts your productivity, too, since you work harder when you’re healthy and, of course, when you’re in the office during the week.

3. You’ll Feel De-Stressed

Anyone who works knows that the office isn’t a stress-free zone. And, while your new potted plant won’t be the cure to your high-anxiety days, it can help assuage tension in the workplace. Psychology Today has previously reported that a plant can lower blood pressure, diffuse anxiety and make you feel more fulfilled and satisfied at work.

4. It’ll Cut Down on Noise

Ever wonder why a forest is so peaceful and quiet? Seclusion may be one answer, but plants’ collective ability to absorb sound is another. In fact, it’s one of the lesser-known assets of plants: the rougher the bark and the thicker the leaves, the better a plant is at absorbing noise. It might not make much of a difference if your office is already plush — carpeted or outfitted with big, cushy office chairs — but a stark, modern office would be less noisy with more plants.

5. You’ll Feel More Creatively Inspired

Let’s face it: there’s nothing less inspiring than a cubicle. Not only are you enclosed — and bathed in the overly bright glow of fluorescent lights — but your desk looks just like everyone else’s. If you look around you for inspiration, it simply will not be there.

Any one of the dozen best plants for your office can change all that. Some theories suggest that we’re hardwired to connect greenery with fruit and food as our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors once did. Seeing a plant next to us, then, makes us feel calmer, happier and more relaxed, thus removing any mental blocks that could stand in the way of our creativity.

6. You Can Make It a Team Activity

Not all office set-ups will allow you to have a plant directly on your desk — perhaps you share your worktop or are too far from natural light. In these scenarios, you can work together with your colleagues to find places to house communal plants. You can then continue to collaborate on the plants’ watering and feeding schedule so that they stay alive.

With a group involved, you’ll probably see the office garden slowly grow. And, the more plants you have, the more of the above benefits you’ll all reap simply by working in their presence. To us, that sounds like a win-win.

7. You’ll Enjoy Personalizing Your Space

It’s a rare thing to look forward to going to work in the morning. We can’t promise that you’ll love every second of the workday, of course, but knowing you get to spend your day in a space that reflects who you are will make it a whole lot easier to enjoy sitting there five days a week. And, once you add your office plants, you might just find it’s only the beginning of you personalizing your space to your liking — so it’s time to get started.

Will you bring plants into your office space? And, if you have, how have they affected your workday flow? Let us know in the comments section below — and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with all of our workplace tips and advice to make your days even brighter than your new plant just did.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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