We reported last month that the presence of art posters on office walls — particularly nature scenes — lowers the anger and stress levels of men. Well, new research suggests potted plants and Picassos have similarly positive effects.
A team of researchers led by Andrea Dravigne of the San Marcos Nature Center in Texas created a job satisfaction survey, which they administered to approximately 450 office workers in Texas and the Midwest. They found employees with either live plants in their offices, or windows overlooking green spaces, felt greater job satisfaction (as measured in a variety of ways) and reported a higher overall quality of life.
“Findings indicated that individuals who worked in offices with plants and windows reported that they felt better about their job and the work they performed,” according to the paper, published in the February 2008 issue of HortScience.
The stress-reducing effect of office posters was limited to men, so it is intriguing to learn that Dravigne and her team also found a gender gap in their results. Specifically, male participants with plants in their offices (as opposed to windows overlooking lawns or parks) reported higher job satisfaction than men in nature-free offices, but no difference was found between women in those two categories.
Those puzzling findings surely warrant further investigation. But together, the two studies strongly suggest that for men, bringing a touch of the natural world into the office is a good idea. Whether it's mums or Monets is up to you.