Nature may not always be at the forefront of your mind when you're running late for that crucial meeting or when you're working day and night to try and finish that all important project. However it could work in your favour to invite nature into your workspace.
A Japanese study, carried out by Seiji Shibata and Naoto Suzuki, found that most women work better if there's a plant in their working environment while men feel more positive in their presence. Carrying out the test on both sexes, the researchers discovered that the presence of a plant had a significantly better effect than, say, a magazine rack.
Suggesting that the plant helped create a calmer environment as well as promoting creativity, the research suggest that introducing plants into the workplace may have a positive effect on productivity.
Nature's calming influence (and the subsequent improvements this has on creativity) has been proved by previous research but, if this research is to be believed, purchasing a small house plant may be one of the cheapest (and most effective) business moves you could ever make.
Not only could it increase the creative potential of the work force, it could help relieve some of the inevitable stress present in the workplace, making for a happier and more productive environment.
Although its success may depend greatly on the location of your workplace, putting the research into practice needn't end there. It may focus primarily on the benefits posed by plants, but the research also points toward the importance of understanding how emotions impact on behaviour and the positive impact this knowledge could have, if used effectively, on improving workplace performance.
Shibata, S. & Suzuki, N. (2004). Effects of an indoor plant on creative task performance, emotions and mood. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 45, 373-381.