When Office Plants Don't Work: Reasons for Increased Stress and Anxiety
You've probably heard that adding plants to your office can help reduce stress, improve productivity, and boost employee morale.
But did you know that not everyone benefits from having plants around? In fact, for some people, having plants in the office can actually increase stress levels.
Why office plants don't reduce stress for all employees?
There are a few reasons why plants can actually increase stress levels for some people:
One reason why adding plants to the office may not work for everyone is that some individuals if they are tasked by their employer to take care of the plant(s), may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a plant.
While some people may enjoy taking care of plants and find it to be a stress relieving activity, others may feel anxious about being responsible for another living thing.
For these individuals, the presence of a plant on their desk may actually increase their stress levels rather than reduce them.
If they feel like they're not taking care of the plants properly, it can lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety.
2. Fear of failure
Second, some people may be afraid of failing to take care of the plants.
If they kill a plant, it can make them feel like they're not good at taking care of things. This can lead to feelings of shame and inadequacy.
3. Condition of the plants
Another reason why adding plants to the office may not work for everyone is that the condition of the plants themselves can impact people's moods and stress levels.
If the plants are withered, dirty, or dead, employees may feel sad or anxious when they look at them.
This is particularly true if the employees are tasked with caring for the plants and feel responsible for their well-being.
To avoid these negative effects, it is important to make sure that the plants in the office are always well-maintained and in good condition.
This may mean replacing dead or dying plants promptly or hiring a professional plant care team to ensure the plants always look fresh and vibrant.
Here are a few tips on how to add and enjoy plants in your workspace without increasing stress levels:
- If you're unsure whether adding plants to your office is a good idea, you can always start with a few low-maintenance plants and see how your employees react. If they seem to enjoy the plants, you can always add more later.
- Keep it simple. When it comes to adding plants to your office, less is often more. Instead of cluttering every available surface with greenery, choose a few key spots where plants can make a big impact. A statement plant on a reception desk or in a communal area can go a long way in creating a more calming environment.
- Based on my decades of experience in plant care and greening spaces in New York for over 13 years, I recommend that if you have more than 5 plants in your office, it's best not to assign their care to your employees.
From all the spaces I have visited in the past, there have been very few cases where employees have taken care of plants effectively in their workplace, especially if they have demanding workloads or tight deadlines.
In conclusion, while adding plants to the office can have many benefits, it is important to recognize that it may not work for everyone.
Some individuals may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a plant, while others may be negatively impacted by the condition of the plants themselves.
By taking steps to ensure that the plants are well-maintained and in good condition, employers can help ensure that everyone in the office can benefit from their presence.
Remember, it's all about finding the right balance. So go ahead and add some greenery to your workspace, but make sure you do it in a way that works for everyone.
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