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.
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.”
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.
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:
- Rubber plant
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.