We’re all spending a lot more time at work, as much as half our waking hours. So making your workplace a more comfortable and fun place to be makes sense. Keeping employees happy means they’ll be more productive and less likely to look for a new job somewhere else.
But doesn’t it seem though like workplace trends have gone a bit weird lately? Just when we all got used to the idea of bringing your dog to work, some of the perks I’ve read about are downright wacky. How about working somewhere with a fully stocked game room from PlayStations to board games like Monopoly and Sorry? Or a three-story tall slide? Maybe you’d rather have a nap room, or a napping tent like at Hootsuite. There are massage clinics and daily meditation sessions.
The king of all workplace perks must be Google. You are never more than 150 feet away from free food at Google. There are full time baristas onsite. Transportation to and from work is provided. Free gyms, free martial arts classes all day, showers with towels provided, free talks and lectures by leading experts and celebrities, photography studios and recording studios, and a bowling room.
In a Canadian workplace survey by ADP Canada, 83 percent of employees said employers need to make an effort to “raise spirits” at work. One third said their employers didn’t do anything to improve morale.
Chesapeake Energy offers onsite Botox treatments and tanning beds. The booze is flowing at more workplaces during business hours. Sure, if you work for Miller or Coors, an onsite brewpub makes sense. But a wine bar at DPR Construction or beer cart at Advanced Medical? Let’s hope Uber rides home go with those perks.
One in ten companies surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) now offer fitness trackers like Fitbits to employees. One in five workplaces (20 percent) have an onsite blood pressure machine. But only five percent offer a surefire method of lowering your blood pressure: an onsite vegetable garden.
As someone whose daily mission is improving workplace interiors with plants and other design elements, the good news is more business owners understand their workspaces can improve the performance of their employees and actually provide a return on the investment.
Try increasing the number of plants in the environment. Not every workplace has a window, but many indoor plants do well under fluorescent light. A living wall can make a huge impact without taking up valuable floor space. The point is, every workplace can add plants. According to the Human Spaces report, plants are the second most desired workplace element (20 percent) after natural light (44 percent). But more than half of all workplaces have no plants in them at all (58 percent).
Good Earth Plant Company horticultural technicians visit workplaces every day to care for plants and workplace environments. We see firsthand the positive results of plant filled workplaces. It doesn’t take a ping pong table or daily massages to make it happen, it takes a palm tree, or an orchid, or a shiny green pothos.
The design think tank Human Spaces reports employees working in environments with natural elements like plants and sunlight have a 15 percent higher level of well-being. This translates into a six percent increase in productivity and a 15 percent increase in creativity.
Think about what a six percent efficiency increase would mean in your business. Imagine one creative idea that turns into the next Uber or Tesla or even Scrub Daddy (look it up). What would you be willing to invest to get there?
Sorry to break the news to my employees at Good Earth Plants, but you aren’t getting a beer cart anytime soon. But I guarantee you will always see the sun all day and enjoy a plant filled, comfortable environment.