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Growing Business — Show Us Your Desk Plant


Post a photo of the plant on your desk in the Comments section below.

That's right: The plant the boss wants you to take home ...

Now you can explain — with some research to back you up — that having greenery in your workspace makes you more productive. And how a ficus near the phone or a lily by the laptop helps grow business.

And maybe your supervisor will make like a plant — and leave.

Rooting Out The Problem

Greenery, as it turns out, may be beneficial to the bottom line. A new study — based on research at commercial enterprises in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and published in a recent Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied -- reports that plants enhance the workplace. They cheer people up and they seem to improve air quality and concentration.

"Investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers' quality of life and productivity," lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis of Cardiff University said in a statement announcing the report. "Simply enriching a previously Spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 percent — a figure that aligns closely with findings in previously conducted laboratory studies."

The researchers point out that the findings fly in the face of contemporary management values championing pin-neat and pristine office space.

Check Your Pistils At The Door

Companies have long debated the merits of allowing desk plants. Some argue that a cactus could distract us and we should say goodbye to aloe. Others believe in leaves — philodendron on the filing cabinet and crassula on the credenza. The new data appears to back up these latter notions.

Psychologist and co-author Craig Knight at the University of Exeter told reporters: "Psychologically manipulating real workplaces and real jobs adds new depth to our understanding of what is right and what is wrong with existing workspace design and management. We are now developing a template for a genuinely smart office."

We ask Craig what kind of plant he has on his desk to help him be so productive. "I don't have a plant on my desk at the moment," he tells NPR. "However, I do have a rather pretty Madagascar dragon tree close to the window."

So what does your desk plant look like? Please post a photo below.


The Protojournalist: Experimental storytelling for the LURVers — Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers — of NPR. @NPRtpj

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.
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