Employees thrive when they are surrounded by healthy plants and flowers, say the preliminary results of a Danish research project on the significance of plants and flowers for the working environment
Over the past year, Jane Dyrhauge Thomsen, a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, and the head of the project, has analysed two workplaces with the participation of a total of 33 persons from various organisation levels.
Plants create security
"The case studies suggest that plants and flowers are an integral part of the workplace, and that they are actively used to make the physical, social and psychological environments more pleasant and relaxed. And this applies both to relations between management and employees, and to relations between the employees themselves."
Healthy plants produce positive feelings
In the processing of the data material, however, the researcher also encountered some challenges.
"The ways in which employees felt plants and flowers affected their working environment and well-being turned out to be quite complex," Jane continues. "Firstly, because plants and flowers are used in many different ways, for example to create a pleasant indoor climate, improve the social environment, for decoration or just to relax with - just to mention a few examples. And secondly, because the plant's own appearance also played a role, as did the things that the participants associated with the plant."
The results of the case studies are only part of the project, and the final research results will be published in scientific journals over the coming months.
Plants increase efficiency
Other surveys of employee satisfaction and efficiency support Jane Dyrhauge Thomsen's findings. In the summer of 2010, an employee survey conducted by Hewlett Packard showed that flowers and plants help to increase efficiency: no less than 55% of those surveyed said that the presence of flowers and plants was an important factor in their efficiency.
So if you need to give your well-being and efficiency a boost, you might consider spending a little extra energy on surrounding yourself with the plants you love and have good experiences with, both at work and at home.
The "Plants for a Better Life" project, a three-year research project financed by the Faculty of Live Sciences, University of Copenhagen, the Danish Ornamental Plant Producers and the Research School of Horticultural Sciences is expected to be completed by July 2001.