ArticlePDF Available

Interior Plants May Improve Worker Productivity and Reduce Stress in a Windowless Environment



This study documents some of the benefits of adding plants to a windowless work place - a college computer lab. Participants' blood pressure and emotions were monitored while completing a simple, timed computer task in the presence or absence of plants. When plants were added to this interior space, the participants were more productive (12% quicker reaction time on the computer task) and less stressed (systolic blood pressure readings lowered by one to four units). Immediately after completing the task, participants in the room with plants present reported feeling more attentive (an increase of 0.5 on a self-reported scale from one to five) than people in the room with no plants.
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
Virginia I. Lohr, Caroline H. Pearson-Mims, and Georgia K. Goodwin 2)
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6414
This study documents some of the benefits of adding plants to a windowless work place -
a college computer lab. Participants' blood pressure and emotions were monitored while
completing a simple, timed computer task in the presence or absence of plants. When
plants were added to this interior space, the participants were more productive (12%
quicker reaction time on the computer task) and less stressed (systolic blood pressure
readings lowered by one to four units). Immediately after completing the task, participants
in the room with plants present reported feeling more attentive (an increase of 0.5 on
a self-reported scale from one to five) than people in the room with no plants.
Index words: blood pressure, foliage plants, house plants, human issues in horticulture.
Significance to the Nursery Industry
Understanding the benefits of interior plants can help interior plantscapers sell their services.
This study provides further justification for the use of interior plants in a variety of indoor
settings. Many people feel that adding plants to interior spaces improves worker productivity
and satisfaction, yet there are few, if any, concrete studies examining these impacts. Studies
showing an impact on blood pressure, for example, have used videotapes of plants in natural
settings, not live containerized plants in interior settings. This study, using common interior
plants in a computer lab, confirms that interior plants can contribute to reduced stress. This
study also documents that worker productivity on tasks requiring concentration and quick
reactions can improve when plants are added to a work space.
Interior plants are common in many homes, work places, and commercial settings.
Interior-scaping is widespread in the hospitality industry, where its presence has been shown
to boost occupancy rates and generate profit (3). Intuitively, people sense that contact with
plants and nature is restorative and calming to the human spirit. This widespread belief is
evidenced by the extensive landscaping in residential communities, the use of plants in theme
parks and other segments of the tourist industry, the growth of urban and community
gardening, and interior plantscaping of office and retail spaces (10, 13). In the 1960s, the
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
open-plan "office landscape" characterized by the abundant use of large potted plants to
separate work spaces,
was popular (14). Although the office environment has changed over time, interior plants
continue to be used in work spaces. As jobs become more technologically complex, the
frequency of stress-related disorders in work environments increases (12). The need for a
thorough understanding of the relationship between plants and human well-being is
increasingly important (10).
Interaction with plants, both passive and active, can change human attitudes,
behaviours, and physiological responses (10). The stress-reducing benefits of passively
viewing plants in natural settings are well documented (5, 9, 15, 16); however, many workers
labour in windowless office spaces with few opportunities to view nature. Research indicates
that workers in such windowless environments have lower job satisfaction and rate the
physical conditions of their work as less "pleasant and stimulating" than people in windowed
settings (4). Plants are widely used to personalize and decorate offices, and they are important
in improving satisfaction with indoor space (7, 13).
Accounts of studies conducted in Germany in the 1960s assert that improved
employee morale, decreased absenteeism, and increased worker efficiency result when plants
are added to office spaces compared to traditional, unplanted offices (1, 2). In the 1980s,
reviews of the merits of interior landscaping continued to suggest that plants boost employee
productivity, even by as much as 10% to 15%, when incorporated in offices and other work
areas (8, 11). These reports of increased worker productivity in interiorscaped offices and
work areas have been common; yet, we have been unable to find any research studies to
substantiate these claims.
The goal of these experiments was to examine the impacts of interior plants in
windowless working environment on human well-being and productivity. Responses of
subjects in the presence and absence of plants were compared.
Materials and Methods
Experimental setting. Experiments were conducted in a Washington State University
instructional computer laboratory with 27 computer workstations. The room was 13.5 m (44
ft) long, 7.3 m (24 ft) wide, and 2,6 m (8,5 ft) high. It had no windows and was illuminated
with overhead fluorescent lights. The walls had no ornamentation and there was a white
markerboard across the front of the room. Most of the interior of the room was off-white; the
desk tops were burnt orange. The conditions in the room averaged 27C (80F), 38% relative
humidity, and 420 lux (38 fc) at the work surface during both experimental treatments.
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
Subjects. A majority of the 96 participants were volunteers from an undergraduate
agricultural economics class. They ranged from 18 to 46 years old, and 78% were less than
25 years old. Half of the subjects were male and half were female. Eighty-four percent of the
subjects were university students; the remainder were university employees or members of
surrounding communities.
All of the subjects had used computers before, and most used computers at least once a
month. Half of the subjects reported their keyboarding skills as average and 30% felt that
they were faster than average. When asked if they liked plants, 81% said "yes" and the
remainder had either no opinion or said "no". Sixty-six percent had plants at their homes or
Correlations between responses to the demographic survey and treatment assignment
were examined. There were no significant correlations between any of the demographic
variables and treatment, except for that of having plants at home or work. Approximately
75% of the subjects in the treatment without plants had plants in their homes or work areas,
while only 58% of those assigned to the treatment with plants had plants at home or work.
Statistics examining the treatment by demographic response for this variable and others that
might have explained the results were also examined, and no significant or meaningful
relationships were found. For example, people's levels of computer expertise did not
influence how they responded to the treatments. These analyses confirmed that there were no
meaningful differences between subjects in the treatment groups and that the demographic
variables were not useful in interpreting the results. For this reason, only the results for all
subjects within a treatment will be reported, and the statistics for responses will not be
categorized based on demographic responses.
A preliminary experiment, with slightly different procedures, formed the basis for this
experimental design. The majority of the 160 subjects in the preliminary experiment were
volunteers from an upper level psychology class at WSU, and their average age was 20.
Productivity. A computer program to test productivity and induce stress was
specifically designed for these experiments by the senior author and created by a computer
specialist in Informa-tion Systems at Washington State University. Tests of reaction time are
used to obtain an objective measure of mental processing (17). Our program randomly
displayed one of three shapes of different sizes, in various locations, at random time intervals,
on the computer screen. The variables that were incorporated into this program have been
associated with differences in reaction times (17).
Participants were asked to press a key that corresponded with the shape on the screen as
quickly as possible after they recognized the shape; therefore, subjects had a choice of three
responses. Measures of reaction time where respondents have more than one possible
response are associated with complex mental functioning and are considered appropriate
instruments to measure performance under stressed or fatigued conditions (17).
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
One hundred symbols were presented in the same randomized sequence to each
subject, thus keeping the complexity of the task identical for all subjects. The time interval
after pressing the correct key, which cleared the screen, until the next symbol appeared varied
from zero to five seconds. For each symbol presented, the number of wrong keys pressed and
the time delay before pressing the correct key (reaction time) were automatically recorded in
a computer file. In the preliminary experiment, only 50 symbols were presented, and the time
delay between symbols ranged from one to 15 seconds, making the task somewhat more
boring than the task used in the final experiment.
The computer program concept and content were reviewed by a psychologist who
considered it an appropriate instrument to measure reaction time.
The program was pretested on various computers to ensure accurate recording of readings. A
group of computer users also pretested the program to determine ease of usage. Blood
pressure readings recorded while using the program confirmed that the program was effective
in inducing stress.
Stress measures. Emotional states, blood pressure, and pulse were measured for
participants during the experiment. The Zuckerman Inventory of Personal Reactions (ZIPER)
was used to monitor emotional states (18). Respondents indicated, on a scale from one to
five, the degree to which each statement, such as "I feel sad," described the way they felt at
that moment. An Omron Model HEM-713C automatic oscillometric digital blood pressure
monitor (Omron Healthcare, Inc., Vernon Hills, IL) was used to measure blood pressure and
pulse. Increases in blood pressure indicate increases in stress (16). The cuff of the monitor
was placed on the subject's non-dominant arm, so that readings could be taken while the
subject was using the dominant hand for the productivity task. Subjects were asked to place
the cuffed arm in a stationary and relaxed position during the measurements.
Table 1. Interior plants added to the computer lab during trials when plants
were present.
Species Quantity Height or length
Aglaonema sp. 2 50
Chamaedorea seifrizii 1 125
Dracaena marginata 1 225
Dracaena deremensis 'Janet
Craig' 1 125
Epipremnum aureum 2 75
Homalomena siesmeyeriana 1 25
Hoya sp. 3 50
Philodendron scandens 2 100
Sansevieria trifasciata 1 75
Scindapsus pictus 'Argyraeus' 1 50
Syngonium podophyllum 2 25
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
Treatments and procedures. There were two treatments in this experiment: plants present and
plants absent. For the treatment with plants present, common low-light tolerant species of
interior plants were added around the periphery of the room (Table 1). Floor plants, table
plants, and hanging plants were added, and they gave the appearance of a well-designed, but
not lush, interiorscape. Plants were positioned so that clusters would be present in the
peripheral view of each subject sitting at a computer terminal, but would not interfere with
the subject's activities.
Up to eight subjects were tested at one time. The subjects entered the room and sat at
designated terminals. Assistants then led them through a series of tasks.
Measures were taken in the following order: pre-task ZIPER questionnaire, pre-task blood
pressure and pulse readings, computer productivity task with blood pressure and pulse
measured approximately halfway through the task, post-task ZIPER questionnaire, post-task
blood pressure and pulse readings, and the demographic survey. Each subject was tested
either in the presence or the absence of plants, not under both conditions.
Statistical analyses. Data for subjects tested in the presence of plants were compared
to that for subjects tested in the absence of plants. A univariate analysis of variance was
performed on the productivity data, while a multivariate analysis of variance was performed
on changes in blood pressure readings over time. Differences between treatments for
responses on the pre-task and post-task ZIPER questionnaires were evaluated using the non-
parametric Mann-Whitney 'U' test in the NPARIWAY analysis in SAS (Cary, NC). For
ZIPER items with significant between treatment differences and with pre-task to post-task
score changes of more than 0.3 units, the within treatment change was also evaluated using a
t-test. An alpha level of up to 10% was chosen for this experiment for all parameters, to
ensure that important relationships would not be overlooked (6).
Results and Discussion
Stress measures. On the pre-task ZIPER survey, there were no significant differences
between people tested in the presence of plants compared to those tested in the absence of
plants. People generally reported moderate levels of positive emotions, such as feeling
carefree or elated. They reported low levels of negative emotions, including anger and fear.
After completing the productivity task, there were still no differences on most items between
those tested in the presence of plants compared to those tested without plants. There were
differences on the item "I feel attentive or concentrating" (Fig. 1). After completing the task,
people in the presence of plants reported feeling more attentive (an increase of 0.5 units on a
scale from one to five) than those in the absence of plants. Comparisons within a treatment
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
revealed that subjects tested in the presence of plants showed significant increases in their
post-task attentiveness scores over their pre-task scores (also an increase of 0.5 units, P <
0.01), while there were no changes in attentiveness for those in the absence of plants. This is
noteworthy, because attentiveness is an important attribute for employees in most jobs.
There were no significant differences in pulse readings (data not shown). Significant
differences between treatments were noted for systolic blood pressure (the upper number in a
typical blood pressure reading), based on the multivariate analysis comparing changes among
People in both treatments had similar systolic blood pressure readings before beginning the
computer productivity task (Fig. 2). Systolic blood pressure rose for subjects in both
treatments while they were performing the productivity task. This suggested that the task was
inducing stress. The rise in blood pressure was less for those subjects tested in the presence of
plants than for those subjects tested without plants present (+1 and +4 units, respectively).
Subjects in both treatments experienced a drop in systolic blood pressure after completing the
final set of surveys, and the decrease was greater for those tested in the presence of plants
than for those tested without plants present (-4 and -2 units, respectively). In the preliminary
study, blood pressure was measured only before and after the task, not during the task.
Similar trends in systolic blood pressure were noted, but the changes were not significant. In
this study, as well as in the preliminary study, changes in diastolic blood pressure were not
significant, but the trends were similar to those seen for systolic readings.
These results of a moderating influence of plants on blood pressure are consistent
with research conducted by others. Ulrich and others (16) examined recovery rates in pre-
stressed subjects viewing videotapes of natural or urban settings. He reported quicker and
more complete recovery from stress, using measures including pulse transit time, a correlate
of systolic blood pressure, in subjects who viewed nature scenes compared to those who
viewed urban scenes. This study confirms that live interior plants in containers can induce the
same response as videotapes of natural settings.
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
4 b
3.5 a a a
2.5 no
No Plants
No Plants
Pre - task Post - task
Fig. 1. Responses to statement ‘I feel attentive or concentrating’, on a scale from 1
(not at all) to 5 (very much), before and after completing a computer-based
productivity task in the presence or absence of plants. (P< 0,05).
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
No Plants
Pre - task During task Post - task
*Systolic blood pressure (mm Hg)
Fig. 2. Systolic blood pressure before, during and after completing a computer-based
productivity task in the presence or absence of plants.
(lines differentent, P= 0.076).
51.25 b
4 1
3 a a 0.75
0 0
No Plants
(wrong keys pressed)
Reaction time
(seconds per symbol)
Fig. 3. Errors and reaction time on a computer- based productivity task
in the presence or absence of plants . (P < 0,06).
Computer productivity test. The presence of plants had no effect on the number of errors
made on the productivity test; subjects in both treatments made a similar number of errors.
(Fig. 3). Reaction time in the presence of plants was 12% faster than in the absence of plants,
indicating that plants may have contributed to increased productivity (Fig. 3).
In the preliminary study, using a version of the computer productivity task presenting fewer
symbols with longer delays, reaction times in the presence and absence of plants were not
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
significantly different; however, the means were consistent with the results of this study (6%
faster with plants than without plants).
These findings of quicker reaction times with plants present than when absent on a
task requiring some visual concentration are consistent with claims of increased worker
productivity in the presence of plants (1, 2, 8, 11). We have found no scientific studies
documenting increased productivity in the presence of plants. The results of this study are
promising, indicating that there is truth in these claims. The task used to measure productivity
in this study involved visual concentration, mental processing, and manual dexterity. The
factors contributing to the productivity of actual employees are complex and multifaceted.
The full impact of plants on worker productivity cannot be estimated from this study, which
examined only limited and short-term aspects of productivity, but these results clearly
demonstrate that this area of research warrants more study.
Literature Cited
1. Conklin, E. 1974. Interior plantings bring nature indoors. Amer. Nurseryman 139 (2):
12-13, 105-112.
2. Conklin, E. 1978: Interior landscaping. J. Arboriculture 4: 73-79.
3. Evans, M.R. and H. Malone. 1992: People and plants: A case study in the hotel
industry. p. 220-222 In: D. Relf (Ed.). The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being
and Social Development: A National Symposium. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
4. Finnegan, M.C. and L.Z. Solomon. 1981. Work attitudes in windowed vs. windowless
environments. J. Social Psychology 115: 291-292.
5. Honeyman, M.K. 1992. Vegetation and stress: A comparison study of varying
amounts of vegetation in countryside and urban scenes. p. 143-145 In: D. Relf (Ed.).
The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being and Social Development: A National
Symposium. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
6 Kirk, R.E. 1982. Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences.
Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, Belmont, CA.
7. Lavinia, J.E., R.H. Mattson, and F.H. Rohles. 1983. Plants as enhancers of the indoor
environment. p. 738-742 In: A.T. Pope and L.D. Haugh (Eds.). Proc. Human Factors
Society 27th Ann. Mtg. Human Factors Society, Santa Monica, CA.
8. Marchant, B. 1982. A look at the industry - dimensions and prospects. Amer.
Nurseryman 156(10): 30-49.
Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment – From ‘Plants-for-People’
9. Moore, E.O. 1981-1982. A prison environment's effect on health care service
demands. J. Environ. Systems 11: 17-34.
10. Relf, D. 1990. Psychological and sociological response to plants; Implications for
horticulture. HortScience 25: 11-13
11. Scrivens, S. 1980. Interior Planting in Large Buildings. The Architectural Press,
12. Sethi, A.S., D.H.J. Caro, and R.S. Schuler. 1987. Conclusion: Towards technological
renaissance. p. 383-386 In: Strategic management of technostress in an information
society. C.J. Hogrefe, Inc., Lewiston, NY.
13. Shoemaker, C.A., K. Randall, P.D. Relf, and E.S. Geller. 1992: Relationships
between plants, behavior, and attitudes in an office environment. HortTechnology 2:
14. Sundstrom, E. 1986. Work Places: The Psychology of the Physical Environment in
Offices and Factories. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.
15. Ulrich, R.S. 1984. View through a window may influence recovery from surgery.
Science 224: 420-421.
16. Ulrich, R.S., R.F. Simons, B.D. Losito, E. Fiorito, M.A. Miles, and M. Zelson. 1991.
Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments. J. Environ.
Psychology 11: 201-230.
17. Welford, A.T. (Ed.). 1980. Reaction Times. Academic Press, London.
18. Zuckermann, M. 1977. Development of a situation-specific trait-state test for the
prediction and measurement of affective responses. J. Consulting Clinical Psychology
45: 513-523.
... Some records also provided data on the ambient environment in which the plants were placed. Specifically, 19 papers recorded the room temperature, with the highest being 27 • C [78] and the lowest 20 • C [59]. Humidity was reported in 13 papers, with the highest value at 70% [79] and the lowest 34% [80]. ...
... In brief, the systematic review concluded that indoor plants, in general, affect participants' functions positively, particularly their physiology and cognition. Regarding physiological functions, participants exhibited greater benefits in a room with plants than in a room without plants in relation to lower blood pressure [60,61,63,76,78,82], lower electrodermal activity (EDA) [69,83,85], lower electroencephalography (EEG) α and β waves [56,69,72,81,83], lower heart rate [59,[61][62][63]68,76,91,93], and lower respiration rate and body temperature [61]. Table 7. Summary of the outcomes of the records. ...
... Outcomes [78] When conducting a computer task, participants had a smaller SBP increase with the presence of plants than without plants. After accomplishing the task, the participants also exhibited a faster SBP decrease when plants were present than when plants were absent. ...
Full-text available
The influences of indoor plants on people have been examined by only three systematic reviews and no meta-analyses. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the effects of indoor plants on individuals’ physiological, cognitive, health-related, and behavioral functions by conducting a systematic review with meta-analyses to fill the research gap. The eligibility criteria of this study were (1) any type of participants, (2) any type of indoor plants, (3) comparators without any plants or with other elements, (4) any type of objective human function outcomes, (5) any type of study design, and (6) publications in either English or Chinese. Records were extracted from the Web of Science (1990–), Scopus (1970–), WANFANG DATA (1980–), and Taiwan Periodical Literature (1970–). Therefore, at least two databases were searched in English and in Chinese—two of the most common languages in the world. The last search date of all four databases was on 18 February 2021. We used a quality appraisal system to evaluate the included records. A total of 42 records was included for the systematic review, which concluded that indoor plants affect participants’ functions positively, particularly those of relaxed physiology and enhanced cognition. Separate meta-analyses were then conducted for the effects of the absence or presence of indoor plants on human functions. The meta-analyses comprised only 16 records. The evidence synthesis showed that indoor plants can significantly benefit participants’ diastolic blood pressure (−2.526, 95% CI −4.142, −0.909) and academic achievement (0.534, 95% CI 0.167, 0.901), whereas indoor plants also affected participants’ electroencephalography (EEG) α and β waves, attention, and response time, though not significantly. The major limitations of this study were that we did not include the grey literature and used only two or three records for the meta-analysis of each function. In brief, to achieve the healthy city for people’s health and effective functioning, not only are green spaces needed in cities, but also plants are needed in buildings.
... From a critical examination of the experimental literature by Ref. [5]; indoor plants can provide psychological benefits. The work outcome yield and pressure reduction are improved with the inclusion of live plants in workplaces, especially in windowless conditions; for example, office workers are 12% faster in response time on computer tasks in such conditions when plants are in their environment [6]. The existence of live indoor plants or window views of green spaces has a significant positive effect on workers' perceptions and job satisfaction compared to workplaces without them [7]. ...
... There are diverse approaches to investigate the psychological impact of indoor plant usage. Satisfaction with varied plant characteristics and placement of indoor pants creating an improved workplace environment resulting in higher performance are among primary examples [6][7][8]. In addition, the three-dimensional visual perception of the quantity of the indoor greenery makes the user perceive the proximity to the greenery as well as its quantity to be greater than reality [39]. ...
Full-text available
Using indoor plants has a long history, but research on plant usage in buildings has only recently begun. An increasing number of plant studies for the interiorscape is highly desirable concerning the growing “work from home” trend. This research aims to empirically 1) identify the research trends of indoor plants, 2) identify the most popular plants for the indoor landscape, and 3) investigate the practical aspects currently appearing in the research. The articles discussing the benefits and limitations of plants related to indoor use were compiled from the SCOPUS database. Experts and professionals were interviewed for cross-validation with the results from the study.
... For air quality improvement, phytoremediation is one of the most effective, economical and environmentally friendly indoor air purification methods, and the benefits of air quality provided by indoor plants include improving indoor thermal comfort and reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) [9][10][11], as well as removing carbon dioxide from the air and producing oxygen [12,13]. Meanwhile, the indoor plants have positive impacts on human physiology and psychology, especially the positive psychology influences on improving learning and work efficiency [14][15][16], relieving negative emotions [17][18][19] and promoting the recovery of physical and mental health [20][21][22]. ...
... Van den Berg et al. [15] evaluated the restorative impacts of green walls with living plants in classrooms by measuring students' cognitive performance, well-being and classroom evaluations, and results showed that students in the four classrooms where a green wall was placed scored better on the test for selective attention. Lohr et al. [16] conducted some compared experiments to examine the impacts of interior plants on human well-being and productivity and observed that the participants in the room with plants were more productive, more attentive and less stressed. ...
Full-text available
Indoor plants have great benefits to humans, including physical health, cognition and emotion through their repair and purification capabilities, but most of these positiv e effects have not been quantified and valued. In this study, the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), when people must be self-isolated at home and avoid outdoor activities in China, was utilized adequately and the influence of indoor plants was analyzed via the 2031 valid questionnaires, in which indoor plant status, interest degree, interaction frequency and anxiety alleviation were surveyed. Results showed that indoor plants were widely cultivated especially in the living room. Compared to before the COVID-19, the interest degree with indoor plants increased by ∼33% and their overall interaction frequency increased by ∼78% during the COVID-19. More than 70% of the surveyed people exhibited anxiety during the COVID-19, and the overall anxiety level was 1.17 (between 'Slight anxiety' and ' Anxiety'). And ∼61% of the surveyed people supported that indoor plants could alleviate self-isolation anxiety, and the anxiety alleviation degree was 0.79 (tend to 'Releasing the certain anxiety'), which showed that indoor plants had also shown to have an indirect psychological effect on anxiety alleviation.
... Bakker and Voordt [51] further noted that little attention had been paid to the type of plant or its state of health. The majority of the studies have been conducted in laboratory or quasi-office design [59][60][61][62][63]. A more limited number of studies targeting office workers in real office settings have also been conducted [53,[64][65][66][67][68][69][70]. ...
Full-text available
In recent years, work-related stress has grown exponentially and the negative impact that this condition has on people’s health is considerable. The effects of work-related stress can be distinguished in those that affect workers (e.g., depression and anxiety) and those that affect the company (e.g., absenteeism and productivity). It is possible to distinguish two types of prevention interventions. Individual interventions aim at promoting coping and individual resilience strategies with the aim of modifying cognitive assessments of the potential stressor, thus reducing its negative impact on health. Mindfulness techniques have been found to be effective stress management tools that are also useful in dealing with stressful events in the workplace. Organizational interventions modify the risk factors connected to the context and content of the work. It was found that a restorative workplace (i.e., with natural elements) reduces stress and fatigue, improving work performance. Furthermore, practicing mindfulness in nature helps to improve the feeling of wellbeing and to relieve stress. In this paper, we review the role of mindfulness-based practices and of contact with nature in coping with stressful situations at work, and we propose a model of coping with work-related stress by using mindfulness in nature-based practices.
... Two major categories of studies on the benefits of money plants are the impact on human health conditions [14], [21], [22], [23] and how money plants can improve its surrounding [24], [25], [26]. However, the study on the actual EMR readings from money plant placed in a room and how the EMR changes in the room was not found. ...
... In healthcare waiting rooms, for example, this has often taken the form of potted plants and/or fish tanks. Such domesticated forms of nature have been shown help reduce stress, but, possibly because they are perceived as less natural, their benefits are less than those of wild nature (Ulrich, Lunden, and Etinge 1993;Lohr, Pearson-Mims, and Goodwin 1996). Moreover, for hygiene reasons, plants and fish tanks cannot be placed in many clinical spaces. ...
The subjection of patients and medical staff to environmental stress is an important but neglected aspect of healthcare design. This article argues that, in addition to the inevitable stresses associated with being ill and having to wait for treatment, many existing healthcare spaces also inadvertently subject both patients and medical staff to two avoidable sources of stress: isolation from nature, and lack of perceptible change. The research presented demonstrates how three low-tech elements—the wind, foliage, and translucent glass—can be combined to address this problem in four common types of healthcare space in which patients are routinely required to wait for long periods: waiting rooms, examination rooms, outpatient treatment suites, and hospital inpatient rooms. Keywords: Healthcare Spaces, Waiting, Stress, Wind-animated Foliage
A positive experience of nature triggers beneficial mental and physical responses. Today, we live in a rapidly urbanizing world where access to nature is often limited. Against this backdrop, this systematic review investigated studies on the effectiveness of small-scale greenery for stress reduction. We searched EMBASE, Cochrane, Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, and Science Direct, searching databases from inception to April 2022. Studies were screened against predetermined criteria, and the risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions for RCTs and The Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool. Of the 2500 records identified, we screened 1817 citations for eligibility, which included 13 RCT studies and 6 non-RCT studies. The studies were conducted in eight different countries. The study populations included office workers, students, senior citizens, and patients with specific diseases. Research has mainly focused on indoor greening, with relatively little research on small-scale outdoor greening. All included studies assessed the impact of the intervention on various stress reduction-related outcomes, with the most common stress measures being blood pressure and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Various beneficial effects of the interventions on human health were reported in all 19 studies, 15 of which reported positive effects on stress reduction. All included studies were at high risk of bias. It is recommended that future studies in this area take appropriate measures to reduce bias and improve quality in order to build a strong evidence-based medical foundation. According to our findings, even very small-scale greening, including indoor green walls and potted plants, may provide effective help for stress relief. Understanding the physiological and psychological benefits of small-scale greenery can help better provide more opportunities for urban residents to engage with nature in the context of dense urban trends, as well as provide some reference for urban design planning.
The environmental challenges of climate change increase the energy usage and peak demands of buildings. Most extant studies of greenery systems focus on exterior applications such as green façades and roofs, which indirectly affect the indoor environment. Few studies have focused on quantifying the influence of indoor greenery systems on building energy consumption. The cooling effects of indoor greenery systems such as living walls are largely accounted for by the evapotranspiration (ET) process, in which water is transferred to the ambient environment through the evaporation from and transpiration of plants. Current building energy simulation software such as EnergyPlus did not have a module for modeling indoor greenery systems. In this study, an ET model was created using a machine learning algorithm—Gaussian Mixture Regression (GMR) based on experimental data. An indoor living wall model quantifying sensible and latent loads from the ET process was integrated with the energy simulation software—EnergyPlus through the Python plugin feature. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) medium-sized office building reference model was modified and used in this study to evaluate indoor living walls’ impacts on cooling energy use. A parametric study on leaf to floor area ratios (LFAR), orientations, distances from windows, and climates was conducted to evaluate the influence of each factor on indoor living walls’ performance. Cooling effects of indoor living walls were evaluated in three ASHRAE climates with high cooling demands. Observable cooling energy savings were obtained for the south, east, and west perimeter zones while savings for the north perimeter zone was negligible in all three climates. With the consideration of extra electricity use from direct expansion (DX) dehumidification devices for humidity control, the maximum cooling electricity savings in Los Angeles, CA are 25.1% when LFAR=1.5 for the south perimeter zone, 14.4% when LFAR=0.5 for the east perimeter zone, 0.3% when LFAR=0.3 for the north perimeter zone, and 14.5% when LFAR=0.5 for the west perimeter zone on the design day.
With the urban development, indoor air quality (IAQ) is of growing public health concern due to that fact people spend 80%–90% of their time indoors, which has prompted the use of plants to reduce the air pollution through the phytoremediation from interior spaces, especially in the enclosed rooms with air-conditioning and heating. Indoor plants have been proved to improve the indoor environment, relieve anxiety, and reduce CO2 concentration. However, the comprehensive review has not been published to summarize the development status and potential deficiencies of indoor green plants after 2018. The 50 published articles related to indoor green plants were selected by the primary retrieval system and the later manual screening. This review mainly focused on the effects of green plants on the indoor thermal environment and indoor pollutants including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and CO2 concentration, while the application efficiency of green plants was described on learning or productivity efficiency, patients' post-operative recovery and emotion comprehensively.
Full-text available
The effects of plants in the workplace on the opinions and attitudes of workers was assessed. Attitudes of employees regarding plants were favorable, and most surveyed agreed that plants in the office made it a more desirable place to work. Office workers were aware of the benefits, such as improving air quality, that plants provide. No behavioral changes in response to the addition of plants to the office environment were demonstrated. There were no significant differences between gender, position in the corporation, and age regarding perceptions of plants in the office environment.
Full-text available
Different conceptual perspectives converge to predict that if individuals are stressed, an encounter with most unthreatening natural environments will have a stress reducing or restorative influence, whereas many urban environments will hamper recuperation. Hypotheses regarding emotional, attentional and physiological aspects of stress reducing influences of nature are derived from a psycho-evolutionary theory. To investigate these hypotheses, 120 subjects first viewed a stressful movie, and then were exposed to color/sound videotapes of one of six different natural and urban settings. Data concerning stress recovery during the environmental presentations were obtained from self-ratings of affective states and a battery of physiological measures: heart period, muscle tension, skin conductance and pulse transit time, a non-invasive measure that correlates with systolic blood pressure. Findings from the physiological and verbal measures converged to indicate that recovery was faster and more complete when subjects were exposed to natural rather than urban environments. The pattern of physiological findings raised the possibility that responses to nature had a salient parasympathetic nervous system component; however, there was no evidence of pronounced parasympathetic involvement in responses to the urban settings. There were directional differences in cardiac responses to the natural vs urban settings, suggesting that attention/intake was higher during the natural exposures. However, both the stressor film and the nature settings elicited high levels of involuntary or automatic attention, which contradicts the notion that restorative influences of nature stem from involuntary attention or fascination. Findings were consistent with the predictions of the psycho-evolutionary theory that restorative influences of nature involve a shift towards a more positively-toned emotional state, positive changes in physiological activity levels, and that these changes are accompanied by sustained attention/intake. Content differences in terms of natural vs human-made properties appeared decisive in accounting for the differences in recuperation and perceptual intake.
Full-text available
Records on recovery after cholecystectomy of patients in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital between 1972 and 1981 were examined to determine whether assignment to a room with a window view of a natural setting might have restorative influences. Twenty-three surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses' notes, and took fewer potent analgesics than 23 matched patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall.
Sixty-four subjects (32 men and 32 women) evaluated environmental quality and thermal comfort in a 2 − 2 design involving 2 temperature conditions, 20.0°C (68°F) and 25.6°C (78°F), within a climate controlled chamber that was either decorated with plants or was devoid of plants. The results showed that on a scale developed for measuring Occupied Space Quality, a higher rating accompanied the condition in which plants were used to enhance the environment than the condition in which no plants were used. The plants, however, did not affect the subjective thermal responses.
The paper reports on a study that looks at the impact of a corrections environment upon prisoners through a process of monitoring inmate attendance at sick call clinic. Contrasting cell block designs and characteristics are compared on the basis of significant differential demands for health care services emanating from specific areas. Known psychological and physiological responses to situations perceived to be threatening provide the theory that health behavior may be used as one indirect measure of environmentally induced stress. Findings suggest there are architectural design features of the prison environment that provide basis of perceived threats to inmate safety and survival. Loss of privacy on several dimensions appears to be a critical environmental characteristic.
Describes the development of a situation-specific trait–state test for affective responses, the Zuckerman Inventory of Personal Reactions. Form 1 contains 20 situations to which 355 undergraduates described their responses on 16 scales for each situation. Factor analyses were done on traits (responses summed over situations) and states. States were obtained on another form containing responses with instructions to describe feelings "now." Factor scales for responses were derived from these analyses, and classes of situations were obtained by factor analysis and cluster analysis of the situations. Study 2, with 64 male and 90 female undergraduates in 2 classes, assessed the reliability of these scales, sex differences, and the trait–state relationships. The reliability characteristics fit the model derived from prior studies. Sex differences were found in trait tests but not in state tests. Five validity studies are described, and the convergent and discriminant validities are examined. (23 ref)