We know that house plants are great for purifying the air and adding a level of homeyness to your space, but did you know they can actually make you more productive? According to a new study, employees who work in environments that have natural elements like sunlight and plants report a 15% higher level of well-being as well as being more productive and more creative. Unfortunately, when it comes to most workspace conditions, the view is less than ideal: Less than half of us have any natural light in our working environment. When it came to the most requested elements of a working office space, number one was natural light, number two was live indoor plants and number three was a quiet space to work. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it?


The research showed that natural elements had a strong correlation with creativity and productivity at work. People who were able to bring nature into their workspace through plants, natural light and mini water features enjoyed the same productive increase as those who had a view of the outdoors from their desk. Even something as simple as having a colorful workplace with lots of blue, green and yellow increased happiness and productivity. We always suspected color equaled happiness.


Lead researcher Cary Cooper commented, “As well as enabling organizations to make links between their physical spaces and the performance of their people, this study throws light on one of the defining challenges of modern life – our ability to cope with urbanization and loss of connection with green spaces.” Hopefully research like this will motivate a change in workplace decor and inspire bosses to add plants around the office.


But why do plants make us more productive? University of Michigan psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan explained in an interview with Fast Company that plants equal productivity because of “attention restoration.” Attention restoration works as a way to give our brain a rest from the intense work we’ve been focused on. In short, every time you look up from your computer and see your happy little succulent, you are restoring your concentration and letting your brain take a quick break.


Corporate real estate firm CBRE’s head of sustainability for the Pacific region, Amanda Steele, told Business Insider that the health benefits of putting plants in offices is “overwhelmingly positive. Plants purify the air without the use of chemicals or energy, and provide an excellent connection to nature, enacting biophilia, or the positive feelings people get when surrounded by living systems.”


Whether it’s the extra oxygen or the good vibes, we are starting to add more plants to our desks right this very second. And unless you work at one of the coolest offices in the country, it may be time to get creative in the way you bring nature to work, like these little air plants or some DIY clip-on baskets to hang plants on the edge of your desk if you can’t spare any counter space.

Do you have plants in your office? Do you think they make you more productive? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

(h/t Human Spaces)