Before the pandemic, technology employees loved their free meals, foosball, and office happy hour. Post-pandemic, it’s going to take more than booze to bring tech workers back into the office.
Good Earth Plant Company has a hot tip for tech employers: Go green at work.
Many of the big tech companies including the Big Five known as GAMAM (Google, Apple, Meta [Facebook], Amazon, and Microsoft) or FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) announced they would bring back their workers into the office. Their employees said, “Umm, not so fast.” Recent surveys found nearly three-quarters of tech employees plan to quit their jobs this year in part because of lack of flexibility with the post-pandemic return to the office push and toxic workplace culture. If they have a long commute, it’s even worse.
But here’s something else we know about tech employees, especially Gen Z: health and wellbeing is one of their top priorities, along with work-life balance and making the planet a better place.
While we can’t reveal our clients, we’ve worked for at least TWO of the Big Five listed above. They asked Good Earth Plant Company to contribute to the biophilic design makeovers at their offices. We’ve added plants, living walls, and moss walls. Along with adding more natural light and more fresh air, adding plants is one of the fastest ways to make a workplace more connected to Nature – and healthier, too.
We’re hearing from office managers, property managers, facilities managers, landlords, and building owners. They are looking for solutions that help then recruit tech talent. They see biophilic offices as a smart investment in providing a welcoming environment. It’s more than just cool or pretty – it’s a way to keep valuable workers happier and more likely to come into the office.
Competition for top tech talent is hotter than ever. A Google search for “attracting tech talent back to the office” gets 31 million results. Beer and foosball won’t cut it. Flexible working arrangements, good pay and benefits are a given. Tech companies need to stand out to convince people to work for them.
Connecting with younger workers is challenging. Gen Z workers want to make a positive difference, and two-thirds say they only want to work for companies that are ethical, have progressive societal goals, offer a diverse, inclusive workplace and protect the environment, according to yet another survey by consulting company Cognizant.
Young professionals DO want at least some time in the office. It makes sense. They want to get to know their colleagues, and many want mentoring from senior employees. What no one wants to do is sit in a cubicle farm on a Zoom call.
Companies realize a well-designed office helps them recruit outstanding employees with an energizing, inspiring environment. Look at what Google is doing in New York City.
Google purchased the St. John’s Terminal Building in Manhattan last year with most offices still closed due to the pandemic for $2.1 billion. It hired COOKFOX Architects, a leader in environmentally responsible architecture, to help redesign Google’s new workspace. It’s adding a massive amount of greenery, to the point it’s making headlines.
Google also hired the Senior Conservation Ecologist Eric Sanderson with the Wildlife Conservation Society to advise which species of native plants attract more caterpillars (and consequently, more birds) onto its terraces. You can read more about this building which is now complete. Google is expanding additional space and it hopes to eventually have 14,000 people working in New York.
Companies like Google know what it takes to attract talent. It understands the old office (which it helped create) is gone. The workplace can’t revolve around providing meals, so employees never leave. It needs to keep people happy, healthy – and driving creativity and productivity in a healthy way.
It’s true you need more than just potted plants to create a biophilic workplace. But not everyone has a Google-sized budget. Workplace greenery is the place to start. It mimics what a lot of people whether Boomers, Millennials, Gen X or Gen Z did while working from home. They filled their homes with house plants. Call it a symbol of a human-centric workplace where people feel welcome and will voluntarily return.
The most recent survey we read from Morning Consult says remote and hybrid work is here to stay. Eighty-five percent of tech workers are either working remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule. Half say they are 100% remote, more than double the number before the pandemic. Three in five say they have no interest in returning to full-time office work.
Good Earth Plant Company found out during the pandemic the need for nature is greater than ever. After four decades, we have never been busier.
When workplaces embrace biophilic design and nature, they find the answer to their recruitment and retention challenges. Open office plans become light-filled, nature-inspired places to gather and encourage brainstorming and teamwork. This is what the modern office does best as part of a hybrid arrangement.
Healthy, comfortable workplaces are no longer negotiable. In a tight labor market, they play a significant role, including the ability to support more inclusive, diverse hiring and retention.
Creating a nature-based environment with plants and natural materials provides a cost-effective solution. Not everyone can spend Google amounts of money! One month of workplace greenery maintenance costs less than buying lunch for employees once a month.
And just maybe, biophilia will finally become a household word!
If you haven’t read our updated white paper on this topic, please download The Nature of the Post-Pandemic Workplace – Second Edition here.
If our white paper inspires you to improve where you work, live, and play, Good Earth Plant Company is just a call or email away at 858-576-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org