Exploring the Role of Plants in Office Environments

Teresa Mallett


This research explores the impact of plants on emotion and stress in the office environment. Research suggests that exposure to natural environments such as parks and arboretums has a positive impact on stress, vitality, and attention. This work has lead to claims that plants in the office environment will have these same positive effects. In this study subjects are randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions, one condition with various types of green plants in uniform brown pots, one condition with color photos of plants on the walls, or the control condition with blank walls and lacking any greenery. The fEMG, GSR, and heart rate of participants were monitored to measure stress and emotion while participants performed a simple transcription task, were periodically asked to make corrections to the document, and finally were asked to relax for five minutes. In addition to the physiological measures a 7-item Vitality Checklist was administered pre- and post-intervention. Preliminary results indicate that feelings of post-intervention vitality were lowest in the plant condition and highest in the control condition.