It is clear that we now need our workplaces to feel and function differently, as we establish a new normal in the wake of the pandemic.
Workplace attendance is not returning to pre-Covid levels, and wellbeing at work is a higher priority than ever before. Offices need to demonstrate that they are more than just a place to get work done, that they are spaces offering a refreshing alternative to the home environment. And what if offices were also therapeutic spaces?
An ideal way to do this is through making the workspace greener and engaging the workplace community in making that happen.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Plants In The Office?
Green spaces in the workplace offer so much more than just aesthetic appeal. A study by the University of Exeter confirmed that having plants in the workspace improved productivity by 15%. Multiple other analyses back this up, demonstrating that concentration and creativity levels are enhanced as well. Biophilic office design can also help your company’s recruitment and retention of employees. Living plants were second on the wishlist for the ideal workplace in the seminal Interface Human Spaces Report.
Once a green transformation is enacted, the benefits are not restricted to the aesthetic, calming, sound muffling and air purifying qualities of the plants. By collaboratively caring for their shared green assets, colleagues can connect with one another, learn new skills and contribute to the wellbeing of the whole community.
Our Staff Engagement Programmes
Here at Urban Growth, we’ve been hosting corporate volunteers at our sites and bringing nature into workspaces and educational institutions for over 8 years. We design our interventions to touch on all five of the New Economics Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing: to learn, be mindful, connect with others, be active and contribute to shared goals.
As new ways of working have evolved in recent years, we’ve developed a menu of services to support companies of all sizes as they make their workplaces greener, healthier and more sustainable. We’ve made and cared for indoor and outdoor gardens in a huge variety of locations, in every corner of London.
We’re building on these foundations to explore partnerships with companies in the following ways:
- In the office: We co-design an enhanced, greener office space with staff. We install it together with the staff, and then provide a participatory maintenance regime in which staff are invited to join us as we care for the new greenery throughout the year. Depending on their ambition and availability, we can empower them to become autonomous plant managers, so you don’t even need our help any more after the first 18 months. We like to enhance this schedule with seasonal workshops which bring together a whole floor or team, to learn new skills and to make living, edible or aromatic creations which can be brought home or further enhance the workspace.
- At home: We coordinate all the elements required to enable remote teams to participate in shared green activities from the comfort of their home. We arrange for the delivery of materials to their door, and curate a workshop that might result in a window box of aromatic herbs or a mushroom growing kit made from old coffee grounds.
- On our sites: with our outdoors Wild Wellbeing Days. There are two primary ways that companies can make London more biodiverse, sustainable and beautiful, while also enhancing their staff wellbeing:
- We host individuals or small groups of regular volunteers at the same site each week, so they establish familiarity with it and develop rapport with the local beneficiaries. This is open to any individual.
- We host big teams for our site creations or seasonal refreshes, enabling as many as 30 people to participate at the same time.
We are also piloting Corporate Match Funding Partnerships
We are now offering companies the chance to establish a sustained partnership with a specific beneficiary community. Every week we get requests from community groups who have neglected spaces they want to transform. By combining corporate funding with grants and donations, and supported by a company’s staff, we can make these under-served communities’ dreams a reality. Together we can deliver sustained impact for some of London’s most marginalised groups, and establish partner companies as leaders in community building.
Let Nature Bring Your Team Together!
We’re looking for companies that are passionate about creating innovative opportunities for people to engage with nature! If you are interested in piloting this with us, contact us here.