Author Archive for joezazzera – Page 4

Why We Need Office Plants

plants contribute to an environment of comfort

Plants add beauty to our lives and temper the harsh aspects of our daily routine. In the office place, where stress often abounds, plants contribute to an environment of comfort, good health, and productivity.

Plants make the workplace more comfortable by providing oxygen and by slightly raising humidity levels. Plants also remove harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. Common indoor workplace materials that emit chemicals into the air are: latex paints, foam insulation, varnishes, adhesives, pressed wood, veneer furniture, copy machines, printers, rug pads and carpeting.

Today’s workplace environment is often a jumble of cubicles, computers, and crowding. Many people struggle with symptoms of fatigue, headache, dry skin, eye irritation, and coughing. A Norwegian study conducted by Dr. Tove Fjeld explored whether plants make a difference when it comes to these health problems. In this study, a group of people in office cubicles (called group A) were provided with plants, while a second group of people in cubicles (called group B) were not. After three months, the groups were switched. Data was collected for another three months.

The study concluded as follows: When people from group A and B had plants in their cubicles, symptoms of fatigue and headache fell by 30% and 20% respectively. Hoarseness and dry throat fell by around 30% and coughing by around 40% for both groups. Skin irritation fell by about 25% for both groups. All over, symptoms decreased by 25% when plants were present.

Plants also increase productivity in the workplace. In a study by Washington State University, researchers found that people with plants in their work environment were 12% more productive and had lower blood pressure than those without plants.

Recent studies even suggest that plants increase workplace happiness and employee satisfaction. Associate Professor Tina Cade of Texas State University told LiveScience, “We pretty much found out that if you had windows and plants, or even if you just had plants in your office, you were more satisfied with your job.”

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Why We Need Plants in Hospitals

gardens in hospitals offer more than just a beautiful environment

By Plant Solutions | December, 2011 | topics: Plants in Hospitals, Studies

Plants and gardens in hospitals offer more than just a beautiful environment for patients and employees. Numerous research studies show that plants can have significant healthcare and therapeutic benefits:

  • 2008 – Kansas. Ninety patients recovering from abdominal surgery were assigned to recovery rooms with or without plants and flowers. Patients who recovered in rooms with plants reported less pain, anxiety, and fatigue. They also had lower blood pressure and heart rates and took fewer painkillers.
  • 1995 – California. Clare Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnus used observation, survey, and interview methods to evaluate four hospital gardens. They concluded that the most important benefit of hospital gardens is that they remove stress. This stress-reducing benefit is available to nearly all users of the garden—employees, patients, and families.
  • 1994 – Uppsala, Sweden. Roger Ulrich studied patients recovering from gall bladder surgery. Patients were given either a hospital bed with a window view of trees or they were given a view of a brick wall. Patients with tree views had fewer post-surgical complications, shorter hospital stays, and less need for pain medication.
  • 1990, 1992 – Japan. Nakamura and Fujii conducted two studies where they measured brain-wave activity in people looking at actual plants or human-made objects. Both studies concluded that greenery elicited relaxation, while human-made objects, like concrete, elicited stress.
  • 1991. Roger Ulrich conducted a controlled experiment where 120 stressed people were assigned to watch one of six different videotapes. Each videotape showed either vegetation or no vegetation at all. Physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and skin conductance) showed that the people who watched the vegetation videos recovered from stress in about three minutes. Their recovery was faster and more effective than that of those who watched the other videos.

These studies show that by viewing garden or nature scenes, one can reduce stress in just a few short minutes. Viewing nature for longer periods of time can shorten hospital stays and reduce the intake of pain medication.