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Texas A&M: Impact of Flowers & Plants on Workplace Productivity Study

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Flowers & Plants Increase Workplace Productivity

In 2003, SAF partnered with an internationally recognized research team at Texas A&M University to learn how flowers and plants in the workplace impact productivity and problem solving. The exciting results of this groundbreaking study:

  • Problem-solving skills, idea generation and creative performance improve substantially in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.
  • Specifically, both men and women who work in environments with flowers and plants demonstrate more innovative thinking as compared to environments with sculpture or no decorative objects.
  • Men who participated in the study generated 30 percent more ideas when working in environments with flowers and plants than ones without.
  • While men generate a greater abundance of ideas, the research shows that women generate more creative, flexible solutions to problems in workplace environments with flowers and plants.

As a result, flowers and plants prove to be natural additions to any work environment.

Roger Ulrich, Ph.D.”The research shows that flowers and plants can be important in the most meaningful way to businesses in the modern economy,” says Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., behavioral scientist and the study’s lead researcher. “Productivity, in the form of innovation and creative problem solving, can mean the difference between mild and great success.”


Researcher Bio

Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the study, is a behavioral scientist and director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.


Researchers at Texas A&M University recruited 101 participants to take part in SAF’s Impact of Flowers & Plants on Workplace Productivity Study. During the four-month scientific study, participants took part in emotional, creativity and attentional demand protocols, in conditions that were carefully controlled, yet were similar to those in many office workplaces. Subjects were asked to take a series of tests in one of three environmental office conditions, selected at random: with fresh flowers and plants; with abstract sculpture; or with no greenery or sculpture at all. Throughout each session, subjects self-rated their moods four times, executed two creativity tasks and completed one attentional demand test. Researchers measured the number of ideas participants generated, their ideas’ originality and flexibility, and other responses, using data extracted from the tests, which included Torrance Tests of the Creative Thinking and Profile of Mood States.

Learn More

A complete analysis of the Impact of Flowers & Plants on Workplace Productivity is available for purchase. Visit the SAF Store or contact SAF Member Services at (800) 336–4743.

Promoting the Great News to Consumers

SAF is publicizing the positive findings to consumers and the business community through an ongoing strategic public relations campaign that launched in 2003. Using Dr. Ulrich as spokesman, SAF distributed the findings via a press kit to print media, audio news release to radio stations, satellite TV tour to secure interviews in cities nationwide, and through targeted pitching to national business and consumer magazines.

In interviews, broadcast via satellite from Washington, D.C., Dr. Ulrich told viewers: “Flowers and plants are not simply visual embellishments. They can contribute to better feelings in employees and a more productive work environment.”

SAF also distributed a radio news release, which resulted in 703 radio broadcasts across the country in the first few days. The initial campaign launch generated more than 5.5 million consumer impressions. In 2004, SAF re-launched the campaign for Professional Secretaries’ Week.

SAF continues to pitch the story to news shows and publications nationwide to create top-of-mind awareness of the powerful benefits of flowers and plants.

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