London: If you are exhausted and stressed at work, put pot plants on your desk as it may alleviate fatigue and headaches in office.

According to researchers, having potted plants in office is good for employees' health -- in fact, it helps reduce fatigue, stress, dry throats, headaches, coughs and dry skin among workers.

The study was led by environmental psychology expert Dr Tina Bringslimark and her team at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and Uppsala University, Sweden.

In their study, based on 385 office workers, the researchers looked at sick-leave rates and the number of plants individuals could see from their desks. Results showed that the more plants they could see, the fewer sick leaves they took, a newspaper reported.

According to a researcher, plants and the microbes in their soil are good at removing volatile, organic compounds that can affect health.

"There could also be psychological explanations in that people believe plants are healthier and are likely to evaluate their own health more optimistically," Bringslimark was quoted as saying.

Potted plants are particularly beneficial for offices where workers do not have a window, according to a related study by Washington State University.

In the US research, workers completed timed computer tasks in rooms with and without plants. Workers were more productive where plants were present and had a 12 percent quicker reaction time. They were less stressed and had lower blood pressure.

"This study confirms that common house plants can contribute to lower stress levels," said Dr Virginia Lohr, who led the research which also proved that dust levels in the workplace can be reduced by up to 20 percent when foliage plants are introduced.

According to Dr Bringslimark, foliage plants may be better than flowering plants. "Large foliage surfaces produce most oxygen and help decompose toxic substances in the air," she said.

(Agencies)