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Greens Counter Worker Blues, Research Finds

November 03, 1996| Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. — Employers who want happier and more productive workers may want to visit a greenhouse. Indoor plants help improve worker productivity and reduce stress, according to a Washington State University study.

This is nothing new to designers of hotel lobbies, medical offices and fern bars, but the study purports to be the first proof that plants are good for the workplace.

"They not only make you feel better, but increase productivity. That is new," said Virginia Lohr of WSU's horticulture department, who conducted the research.

The study was financed by the Horticultural Research Institute, a trade group for the plant and landscape industry. Because nurseries would benefit from increased sales, that makes the findings subject to healthy skepticism. But, Lohr said, care was taken so that subjects were not aware of the purpose of the study.

The study found worker productivity increased 12% when people performed computer tasks in the room with plants, compared with workers who performed the same tasks when the room was plantless.

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