The last several decades have seen American society becoming more technological and further distanced from nature, in terms of work and environment, and many business owners have noticed some of the results in the people they employ: less enthusiasm about work, less productivity at work, and more depression, apathy, and social isolation. If you as a business owner are concerned about this trend, there are some simple or relatively painless ways to incorporate nature into your business and increase both productivity and employee satisfaction.
1. Green up the Outside
Adding or improving the landscaping of your business makes it a more inviting place for both customers to visit and employees to work. If you do not have a large budget for landscaping, just adding more indigenous perennial plants to your front space or even window boxes in your windows can make a real difference in the look and feel of your company. This kind of gardening can be accomplished in a morning with a few employees. Fill in spaces between perennials with colorful annuals for a season-long floral celebration.
2. Green Up the Inside
If you have any natural light in your interior space, adding trees and plants can create an island of serenity in the midst of cubicles. Adding a few house plants to a window sill can also help if that is the only access you have to the outdoors. If you have an employee with a green thumb this can be a great task to assign; you can even have a competition among your employees for Greenest Thumb to involve everyone who has an interest in this kind of dirt therapy.
3. Add an Employee Garden
Businesses all over the United States are adding raised-bed gardens to their property to give their employees something hand-on to do on breaks and during lunch. Gardening can be both personally satisfying and connection creating. People with few similarities often find “common ground” in growing things. All of the small tasks involved in urging life on – planting, watering, weeding, fertilizing, tending, and harvesting – allow people to learn with and from each other, and the end product, fresh organic produce, can be enjoyed together at a company picnic or potluck. Remember growing that bean plant from a seed when you were in second grade – remember how exciting it was to see it break through the soil and become a plant and then a vegetable producer? Children are not the only ones who find the miracle of life fascinating to watch.
4. Dig a Pond
If you have room for a garden, why not add a small pond? The sound of flowing water can be very soothing for people. Watching fish swim and nibble or helping to maintain the quiet, serene beauty of a natural oasis like this can be calming for frazzled workers who spend much of their time being bombarded with more stressful types of stimuli. If digging a pond is space or cost prohibitive, consider adding an aquarium to one of your walls. This will give you much of the same effect without the same effort or expense.
5. Add Some “Wild” Life
Many companies are discovering that letting employees bring their companion animals to work increases their productivity and lowers their stress levels. Not only do animals in the workplace lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, they encourage employees to exercise and socialize with each other. Just as gardening often brings people together and encourages them to problem solve and interact positively, so can animal care. People of diverse religions, political persuasions, and socioeconomic statuses find themselves able to bond over animals, their love of pets allowing them to cross gaps that often seem unbridgeable. If having many pets at work is not a workable solution, consider getting a therapy dog or an office cat for everyone to enjoy.
The above five suggestions allow business owners to accept and incorporate the nature that all people crave into their business environment. Lowered stress levels and increased cooperation can only aid business productivity as healthier and happier employees are more likely to want to be at work and do their jobs in a positive frame of mind. Try introducing one or two of the above, and see if your work environment shifts in more positive, productive direction.
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This post is sponsored by PROCARE Landscape Management.
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