The sight of a plant can lower work-related stress. A study by Japanese scientists, published in the American Society for Horticultural Science found that plants can significantly reduce work-related anxiety or stress. While there are other studies on the same subject, these were conducted in a lab or quasi-office setting. This was the first such study in a real office setting.
The study was carried out on 63 office workers from an electric company based in Japan. The study was split in two phases, the control and the intervention phase. The control period was without plants. In the intervention period, the participants were provided with a small plant, which they had to care for. They were instructed to take a 3-minutes break whenever they felt under stress or fatigued. They would, therefore, gaze at the plant in this period when in the intervention phase.
The researchers evaluated changes in the physiological and psychological stress among the participants by measuring it before and after a plant was placed on their desks. The researches found that stress lowered significantly during the intervention period. Additionally, more participants showed lowered stress in this period. The study indicated that intentionally gazing at plants on their desk or in their workspace can reduce the physiological and psychological stress among office workers.