3 Proven Benefits of Keeping a Plant on Your Desk

If you want to style up your workspace and give it more of a contemporary look, why not add a little boho-chic with a desk plant. After all, they are the latest must-have interior design trend.

But they also do more than just look pretty, they make your working environment feel more peaceful and give you a sense of well-being.

Now, this brings me to the question, is there any actual evidence that adding a plant has any proven benefits on a working environment?

So I did a bit of digging around and came across some interesting research. It turns out that – yes plants do indeed have significant beneficial effects on your health and wellbeing. They’ve even been scientifically proven to increase your productivity.

Who knew?

A Plant on You Desk Can Increase Your Productivity by 15%

If you’d like to be super-efficient and get more stuff done in your working day, a humble little indoor plant on your desk might just be your answer.

A study conducted in 2014 by the University of Exeter looked into the impact of lean v’s green office environments. Lean being the minimalist approach – you get the idea.

They found that plants helped make people physically, cognitively, and emotionally more involved in their work. The study, which was conducted in two large commercial offices in the UK and the Nederlands over many months, showed that with the addition of a desk plant, productivity was increased by 15%.

I’m already thinking maidenhair fern or snake plant hmm.

It Can Help to Reduce Stress

That plants can reduce stress may not be so much of a surprise, but what’s really good to know is that the perceived benefits also have a positive physical impact on health too.

One 2015 study set out to determine if the interaction with indoor plants had any psychological and physiological benefits on the reduction of stress. Results showed that plants do indeed reduce stress, and what’s more, desk plants also had a positive impact on reducing blood pressure.

You get the idea of how the mechanism for their findings works by reading the direct quote taken from the study below.

indoor plants have positive physiological effects on the autonomic nervous system by suppressing sympathetic activity, which often increases when a subject is exposed to a stressor – PubMed

I’m thinking a snake plant is harder to kill, plus it’s got that cool mid-century modern vibe going on.

It Can Help You Concentrate

This last proven benefit I’ll show you is how plants can help you to stay more focused and concentrate on your task at hand.

One study was conducted with 150 university students comparing how different views from their classroom would affect their attention. Those that looked out over a green meadow roof for just 40 seconds, showed significant improvement in their level of concentration, compared to those that looked out over a bare concrete roof.

So If you are thinking of adding a plant to brighten up your desk, I hope I’ve inspired you to go right ahead.

And Finally:

I would like to introduce you to my new plant buddy Kaa!

Kaa is the snake from The Jungle Book.

Resources and Further Reading:

There are quite a few studies out there, so I encourage you to have a dig around.


University of Exeter.”Why plants in the office make us more productive” https://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/archive/2014/september/title_409094_en.html
PubMed. “Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4419447/
PubMed. “Real Foliage Plants as Visual Stimuli to Improve Concentration and Attention in Elementary Students” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427160/
Journal of Environmental Psychology. “40-second green roof views sustain attention: The role of micro-breaks in attention restoration” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494415000328
University of Exeter. “Office plants boost well-being at work” https://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/archive/2013/july/title_306119_en.html

Photo credits:  

Vincent Ghilione on Unsplash

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