The Intellectual Benefits of Indoor Plants

My Pothos Plant by KLPA (Joshua Kulpa)

We have discussed how plants improve the air quality in work spaces and how they may even improve moral, but a new  study discussed in Scientific American suggests that plants in the work place can actually improve cognitive abilities. Plants visible to employees improve productivity in specific areas and therefore benefit employers.

Two Types of Attention

The article discusses that there are various types of attention oriented tasks that the brain performs. One is directed attention. Directed attention is the attention most often used at work to perform specific tasks. The opposite of this is undirected attention. This is the type of attention that happens naturally. When you are outside, for example, you attention is naturally drawn to various different occurrences without intentionality such as leaves blowing in the wind or the smell of a flowering plant. The theory, called “Attention Restoration Theory”, is that this type of undirected attention provides rest for the brain and actually increases the ability to have longer and more productive periods of directed attention. This directly leads to better performance at work.  The researchers decided to test whether or not plants indoors would have a similar effect as outdoor settings on increasing quality undirected attention and there for improving directed attention.

Participants were asked to perform several tasks that required them both to read information and retain it and then quickly switch to recalling the information and recording it. One group performed the tasks in a office setting with no plants. The other group performed the tasks in an office setting with four plants placed around the desk.  The second group consistently improved on the tasks the second time around, after a five minute break, while the group with no plants visible showed no improvement. The study would lead one to believe that an office space with plants visible to the employees would improve productivity thus benefitting the organization.

Benefits for Interiorscapers

So what does this mean for interiorscapers? Employers have two options if they want to improve the productivity of their employees. The first is to allow employees to bring in and maintain their own plants. The other option is to hire an interiorscaper to craft and maintain a plantscape for them. There are several disadvantages to the first approach. There will be no uniform look in the office space if each employee brings in different plants in different containers. It will also take work time to care for the plants and many employees may forget or provide improper care for the plants. This will lead to a disarray of dead plants around the work space ultimately diminishing productivity. Using a professional interior landscaper will lead to a unified, attractive plantscape. It will be well maintained with no added stress to employees thus improving their productivity without adding to their work load. Communicating these costs and benefits to potential clients can help them understand the value of interiorscaping services and lead to more business.

Science is continuing to find the benefits of exposure to plants in a variety of settings. Each new discovery improves work life for employees and adds value to interior landscaping services. As you seek potential clients and design plantscapes for office spaces consider using NewPro Containers wide variety of professional containers for a unified, quality look. Have you noticed the benefits of working among indoor plants?

Photo courtesy of KLPA (Joshua Kulpa) 

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