We know flexible work schedules, physical activity, and achieving goals can all boost workplace productivity. But could something much simpler — and prettier — help employees feel happier and work harder? It turns out flowers might hold the key to better mood, empathy, and innovation, both at home and in the workplace.
The Flurry Over Flora — The Need-to-Know
Flowers can up workplace productivity in a number of ways, starting with a person’s morning wake-up. In one study, participants felt happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning. (Sure beats swearing at the toaster oven!)
But the positive effects of flowers aren’t just for the wee hours; they can also help when we feel stressed at work. Exposure to flowers can reduce anxiety, negativity, and depression and might even improve memory. The best news is that flowers seem to be equal-opportunity Happy Makers — research suggests they’re helpful for men, women, the elderly, and young’uns alike. (That’s right, folks — flowers aren’t just for girls.)
Flora in the workplace can also promote creativity. Women and men working in an office environment with flowers and plants demonstrated more innovative thinking, generated more ideas, and created more original solutions to problems than workers whose offices were bereft of foliage. The presence of flora in the workplace can also make us feel like our office is more comfortable and attractive.
Can’t bring flowers to the workplace because of a cranky boss or a co-worker with allergies? Don’t fret. Just keeping flowers in the home can boost energy, happiness, and enthusiasm at work.
Flower Power — Your Action Plan
To reap the benefits of floral exposure, try these tips for incorporating flowers into daily life.
- Keep fresh flowers on the office desk. Or, leave some in the kitchen or bathroom at work.
- At home, place fresh flowers in the rooms where you spend the most time or do the most work. (The kitchen, office, living room, and bedroom are all good options.)
- Take breaks to water the plants at work. Or try growing your own flowers if you have space and time. Research suggests tending to flowers amplifies the benefits of looking at them, and can improve health, well-being, and life satisfaction
What is the evidence to support the use of therapeutic gardens for the elderly? Detweiler, MB, Sharma, T., Detweiler, JG, et al. Psychiatry Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Geriatric Research Group, Virginia. Psychiatry Investigation, 2012 Jun;9(2):100-10 Primary-care based participatory rehabilitation: users’ views of horticultural and arts projects. Barley, EA, Robinson, S., Sikorski, J. Section of Primary Care, Care Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, England. The British Journal of General Practice, 2012 Feb;62(595):e127-34 Horticultural therapy: the ‘healing garden’ and gardening in rehabilitation measures at Danderyd Hospital Rehabilitation Clinic, Sweden. Soderback, I., Soderstrom, M., Schalander, E. Department of Public Health and Caring Science, Uppsala University, Sweden. Pediatric Rehabilitation, 2004 Oct-Dec;7(4):245-60.
- Sleep with a lavender-stuffed pillow. Lavender might reduce insomnia, nervousness, and irritability, so you’ll be peppier the next day at work.