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

Photo by Caitlin Covington

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.

Do flowers brighten your mood? Have you tried keeping flowers at work? Let us know in the comments below!