October 9th, 2011 11:39 EST
Can Having Plants in Your Office Help to Increase Your Happiness Level and Mood at Work?
I have worked in some really depressing looking environments down here in Alabama and I know how it feels to get up in the morning in an upbeat mood only to get in the car, start the engine, put it in reverse and then put it in drive and head down the road to that work environment with the equivalent looking atmosphere as if you were going to some dark cave in the mountains.
There are a ton of work environments out there where the office or maybe even your office is like walking into a shoe box. It has no windows and the only thing in your office is maybe an outdated desk with broken drawers that fall out of it every time you go to open them or your companies Mission Statement that has been hanging on your wall since the Taj Mah Hal was built.
I once worked in an environment here in Alabama where the company had been around since the early 1930s and when I went into their warehouse to do cycle counts I saw boxes on the shelves that must have been received the day the company opened because the boxes were so rotten that the paper and cardboard that makes up the box had rotted so bad the box sitting on the shelf that had the part in it was reduced to paper dust and the part had fallen out of the box, Unbelievable!
Yes, the atmosphere of your work environment does play a part on your mood and motivation while at work. I once heard we spend more time at work then we do with our families and most of the time nowadays if you are one of the lucky ones to even have a job in this economy you are doing the job of three or four people and are ending up burning the midnight oil sitting at your desk or work space.
This is now just a fact of life to have to work many long hours but the least your company or even you can take your depressing looking work environment and turn into one of the seventh wonders of the world by adding plants to your office.
According to the Society for Horticulture Science (ASHS) people who spend many long hours at work and work in an office with no windows, natural light form sunshine or even that don`t have plants sitting around their office have an increased dissatisfaction for their job and have more stress and reported depression.
This is a problem that is very fixable by adding live plants and offices with windows and sunshine that flows in like spreading soft frosting on a cake. A study by Dr. Tina Marie Waliczek Cade, Associate Professor of Horticulture in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State University, and colleagues put together an Internet based study to see if offices with windows and views of green spaces as well as offices containing live plants increased productivity and employee happiness on the job.
The employees that took the Internet based survey that worked in offices that had live plants and windows reported a dramatic increase in job satisfaction and happiness compared to the ones that worked in those dreaded looking work environments with no plants or windows.
Even NASA has been involved in studying plants and how plants have an effect on air quality found through research that your everyday houseplants work as natural air purifiers. The original study on this was aimed by NASA at ways to purify the air for extended stays in orbiting space stations found that the same study has important implications for those on Earth, too.
For anyone that is into science or horticulture knows that plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis. This was something I learned when I was still playing with Lincoln Logs in Kindergarten. Since then, NASA has found that plants also do a lot more for the quality of the air you and I breathe by also removing harmful elements such as trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air.
So since most office buildings are constructed with synthetic building materials and most of those offices and office buildings are tightly sealed and built you have the harmful elements floating around the air in them like an orchard of dandelions filling the air on a warm and spring like breezy day and with that you have what is known as the Sick Building Syndrome.
So, don`t just settle for those work spaces and offices that make you want to drink strong coffee all day to keep your mood upbeat, liven up that dreary work space and office by going to your local Wal-Mart and buy those exotic looking plants that make you dream of sitting on a beach drinking those sipping Martinis with the funny looking umbrella that stick out of them like a small sign post.