Very few of us thrive in a so called lean office, where tidy desks with computers and office chairs are the main attractions. It’s bad enough that we have to work since we haven’t won the Lotto, we have to pay for our children in college or we’re not trust fund kids.  It turns out that having plants in the office helps the work environment.

Three recent studies from UK showed that having plants in the office increased productivity by as much as 15%. Not only that, but workplace satisfaction and concentration were improved as well. Like all studies there are limitations. For example, just being in the study might have caused the participants to improve productivity. However, the researchers in one study assigned specific tasks to groups of participants in lean offices and to those in offices with plants. And those in green offices completed the tasks significantly quicker than those in lean spaces.

The authors suggest that the plants help office workers physically, mentally and emotionally. It is not clear however how this occurred. At least one reviewer suggested that the plants, by producing oxygen, might improve thinking ability. Again, this has not been proven. Also, the plants help to remove toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene and hexane, which are given off by paint, carpeting, and other common office objects.

Yet at least in one to be published study,, plants need to be healthy appearing. This study showed that patients in rehabilitation facilities felt that unhealthy plants were depressing to view.

Whatever the reason, having plants, preferably healthy, in your office and by extension in your house as well, seems to me like a great idea with very little downside.