Why Design in the Form of Greenery Really Does Matter to Your Employees and Your Bottom Line

Office.sample.We have all been told a million times that “first impressions are everything” and “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” and while these hold absolutely true for the impression you make on your clients the moment they walk into your space, it is actually doubly true that design matters and a pleasant environment makes a huge difference in the way your employees work and feel about their work.  

We know this for a couple of reasons.  The first is that at The Fat Plant Society, we are fortunate enough to work with plants and moss every day and we know that how that has improved our spirits.  (See the last post on how caring for plants can even aid reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression).  The second is the recent study (the first field study of its kind) in which researchers found enriching a ‘lean’ office with plants could increase productivity by 15%.

The University of Exeter team that examined the impact of ‘lean’ and ‘green’ offices on staff’s perceptions of air quality, concentration, and workplace satisfaction, made a fascinating discovery by monitoring productivity levels over subsequent months in two large commercial offices in the UK and The Netherlands.

Productivity

Lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said: “Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”

Productivity?  Really? This IS exciting and important news.  So not only do employees feel better and more positive about their “greened-up” workspaces, but their productivity improves and they take fewer sick days.  In fact, implementing desktop plants and other greenery such as moss walls, moss frames, can actually save employers up to $3,000 annually.  You read about those savings in a previous post but the major takeaway for us from this study was improved productivity.  Given that we spend nearly 2,000 of the 8,760 hours of a year at work, ensuring that time is as productive as possible is simply a “win-win.”

Hallway.sample.

The folks at Ambius know an awful lot about how plants and other greenery can improve environments and even they were surprised at the findings on productivity and employees sense of well being.  In fact, their Head of Innovation, Kenneth Freeman spells it out as a key priority for business owners as it affects their bottom line.

 “We know from previous studies that plants can lower physiological stress, increase attention span and improve well-being. But this is the first long-term experiment carried out in a real-life situation which shows that bringing plants into offices can improve well-being and make people feel happier at work. Businesses should rethink their lean processes, not only for the health of the employees but for the financial health of the organization.”

-Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius

Cultivating the Brand

But there are also numerous benefits from a brand perspective as well. The lovely people at Thrive Global get it and they remind us that “We associate our identities with our work more than ever, which means that offices now also serve as a physical manifestation of the company and team ethos. There’s quite a bit of incentive for companies to make their employees feel valued — from levels of productivity and creativity during work hours, to employee retention overall.”

And since employees are brand ambassadors (often your very best brand ambassadors) creating an environment that they want to be in day-to-day is a vital component to cultivating company culture and brand.

Health

Thrive Global gets the health benefit as well.  They remind us that, “employees exposed to natural light and plants tend to be healthier, leading to a decreased number of sick days taken.”  And with all that light, introducing plants that produce oxygen is kind of a no-brainer.

Stress is, of course, a major factor of work-life and has incredibly detrimental effects on health.  Introducing plants to your working environment reduces stress. In a study conducted in 2010, significant reductions were recorded where plants were located in the office. Including;

  • Tension/Anxiety – 37% reduction
  • Depression/Dejection – 58% reduction
  • Anger/Hostility – 44% reduction
  • Fatigue – 38% reduction

Comfort, Morale, and Happiness

Listening to a recent Ted Talk on Design, one of the speakers reminded me of the importance of feeling comfortable, safe, and happy in a given space and how that affects thinking.  We are more creative as well as more open to new ideas when we are comfortable, safe and happy– not unlike the feeling you got lying and letting your imagination run wild in your favorite space in your childhood home, the workspace can actually facilitate better creativity, thought-processes, and relationships with others–I mean come on, who doesn’t want reduced hostility in the workplace or anywhere else?

We have the solutions and perhaps, more importantly, we offer solutions that are cost-effective, require little (or zero) maintenance but will yield a remarkable return on investment in the form of increased productivity and reduced sick days and stress.  But don’t take it from us, the writers at CIPHR, a people management software company recommend the following plants as ideal for the workplace based on their own experience:

  • Aloe
  • Cactus
  • Succulents
  • Ivy
  • Rubber plant

Flapjack.captioned.

All of the aforementioned plants thrive in an office environment and require minimal water.  For tips on succulent care, read our previous post on that topic or frankly, call us!  We are truly happy to provide all the free advice you need to keep your succulent planter looking its very best.

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget what a moss installation can do to welcome your employees to the workspace every morning.  We have noted that people cannot see our moss walls without smiling.  When we are working on an installation, many of our visitors walk right past the colorful mums as if they are drawn to the moss by a magnet! The depth and breadth of a moss wall is truly stunning and we can even customize the installation to feature patterns, other woodland elements, and (wait for it) a logo.  The second best part about the real moss walls (second only to their awe-inspiring beauty) is that they are zero maintenance.

So consider the investment in greenery for your workspace an investment in your employees, your brand success, and concurrently, your bottom line. 

We are always happy to provide free consultations. 

Just give us a ring. 816. 933.9509.

http://www.thefatplantsociety.com 

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B2B Marketing CAN Be Creative, Compelling, and Share-Worthy: Key Lessons from Carla Johnson via a B2B Newbie

Fisheye.TruckAs a marketer who has recently found herself in B2B after many years of B2C marketing, not only did I take copious notes while watching Carla Johnson‘s talk at  the BMA KC on January 31, 2017, I started researching and digging around because for the life of me, I still cannot come up with the creative brand that I want to be more creative than…

Let me back up a little for those of you who have not watched her talk in its entirety (seriously, though, take the time to do so because it’s well worth the time investment)! Carla has coined an accurate term that many of us experience in real-life, every day: BRAND DETACHMENT DISORDER.  You know, that brand that you are so sick of hearing about that you turn off and tune out when you hear about them–even when it is second or third hand?  I can name three of those brands easily and without too much thought.  But the challenge that Carla Johnson issues is much tougher (for me anyway)–she challenges us to fill in the following sentence:

“I CAN be more creative than (Insert Favorite, Best, and Most Creative Company Here).”

And who doesn’t love a good challenge?  But how the heck do I get there?  Carla has a road map for that and I am going to provide you with my current experiences as a concrete example of how to suss out a highly creative and compelling campaign that will not only engage your current and potential customers but will also endear you to them.

We have to start with the premise that Carla Johnson starts us off with,

“Creativity is something everybody can do at any time.”

Okay, I believe that and while it may take work, it is highly likely that I can be creative in promoting this valuable business to the businesses who need our services.  But it gets even better than that because I have the excellent fortune of working for a B2B business that is incredibly interesting, fast-paced, and compelling.  Additionally, there are so many exciting and gripping stories that I can’t see how one wouldn’t’ find what we do compelling.

“Connect the dots” between our services and the people I need to reach.   

For the most part, the people I need to reach are television producers, many of whom have been in the game for many years and have seen, well, a heckuva a lot.   IMG_7062Again, I was taking copious notes during Carla Johnson’s talk so I know that after considering how to best connect the dots between our services (giant Ku Band and C Band satellite trucks and a guarantee that every live-shot and satellite media tour will come off without a hitch) and the television producers I need to reach, I must now consider what those television producers are worrying about how the services my company provides can solve that problem.

*Lightbulb comes on* Ratings!  Producers care about ratings.  We can help them increase their ratings.  Now I just need to engage them. *Gulp*

FEAR kills creativity. 

Carla Johnson expounds on that statement and provides fantastic examples but the gist is that I not only have to consider my own fear and how it may be crippling or stifling my creativity, I need to remember that a highly creative, “out-of-the-box” campaign may also be frightening to company leadership.  But Carla has an answer for that and one that I can back up with evidence,

“Small steps with creativity = Huge Outcomes.” 

Remember that even if the step you want to take is a giant leap (like a Red-Rover, Red-Rover leap), the organization and the audience might not be ready for that leap so start with a small step.  Execute a small creative leap (for free through your owned media) and track the results.  The data will speak for itself.  If the creative baby -step doesn’t work, re-work it and try again.  I can actually hear Bill Murray from “What About Bob?” talking to the camera during the Good Morning America interview, “I couldn’t be happier about ‘Baby-Steps.”

“Inspiration can come from anywhere.”

As Bob would say, “it’s the horse-sense of it all!”  Yes, creativity can come from anywhere and for many of us, thinking on those creative lines does not stop when you pack it in for the day.  Creativity needs to be nurtured and whether it’s watching the series Abstract on Netflix or reading the Wall Street Journal cover to cover, there are ways to seek out and further develop your creative sensibilities.  I would humbly add that being a good listener can also aid in honing creativity.  I find I learn and observe differently when I keep my mouth shut.

“Creativity is a muscle.” 

The creative muscle, like all muscles, gets stronger with use.  Many of us train our brains as we *ahem* get longer in the tooth with tools like Lumosity and the New York Times crossword puzzle, so why not exercise the creative muscle by visiting a museum, watching the best live shots on YouTube from the past three years, or flipping through an anthology of great American artists and their work?

“The content should pay for itself.” 

Having spent much of my career with a meager budget, that statement gave me so much pause that I rewound to make sure I heard it correctly.  Carla Johnson was talking about one of her clients who feels that content should be so compelling that it is shared by virtue of its intrinsic value.  In fact, he would prefer to not pay to get the content out in the world, he would rather the content stand on its own merits. I couldn’t agree more!  Earned publicity through owned channels is a brilliant goal and an excellent test of the creative mettle if you will.

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While I am still searching for the company that I want to be “more creative than…” I am optimistic, confident, and inspired that creativity within B2B is achievable!  Thanks Carla Johnson!

 

 

 

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