Numerous scientific studies have proven the positives of having more greenery in your workspace. Here are the top seven benefits for employees – and their employers
Humans have an innate desire to be connected with nature, which scientists call ‘biophilia’. Unfortunately, the spaces we tend to spend most of our days – workplaces – tend to be stripped of much of their connection to the natural environment.
Studies have shown that simply adding some greenery in the form of indoor plants can have major positive benefits for employees and their organisations. The same goes for remote or home workers, too. Here are seven reasons why you should invest in some plants for your own desk, or your wider workplace.
A 2010 study by the new University of Technology, Sydney, found significant reductions in stress among workers when plants were introduced to their workspace. Results included a 37% fall in reported tension and anxiety; a 58% drop in depression or dejection; a 44% decrease in anger and hostility; and a 38% reduction in fatigue.
Although the study’s sample size was small, researchers concluded: “This study shows that just one plant per workspace can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance.”
Proponents of colour psychology argue that the colour green has a relaxing and calming effect – so decorating offices with this shade could potentially have a similar affect to introducing plants to the workspace.
Employees’ productivity jumps 15% when previously ‘lean’ work environments are filled with just a handful of houseplants, according to 2014 research by the University of Exeter. Adding just one plant per square metre improved memory retention and helped employees score higher on other basic tests, said researcher Dr Chris Knight.
“What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk,” Knight told The Guardian. “If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better.”
Of course, another great way to boost organisational productivity is to invest in HR software – which will help staff, managers and HR users alike manage their data more efficiently and effectively, and free up time that would otherwise be spent on labour-intensive administrative tasks.
The 2015 Human Spaces report, which studied 7,600 offices workers in 16 countries, found that nearly two-thirds (58%) of workers have no live plants in their workspaces. Those whose environments incorporated natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score and a 6% higher productivity score than employees whose offices didn’t include such elements.
Some experts argue that adding plants to the work environment can help to reduce the risk of sick building syndrome, although evidence to back up these claims is hard to come by.
A small study by the Agricultural University of Norway in the 1990s found that the introduction of plants to one office was linked to a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health, including fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin and irritation of the nose and eyes.
“The presence of plants can probably result in a positive change in the psychosocial working environment,” commented professor Dr Tøve Fjeld in a 2011 blog post. “The resultant feeling of wellbeing also affects how the individual assesses his/her state of health. Against the background of the psychobiological identity and mankind’s positive reaction to nature we can assume that plants have a particular effect on the sense of wellbeing. This is evidenced by the fact that the occurrence of symptoms linked to the indoor atmosphere was reduced.”
Commenting on the 2015 Human Spaces report when it was released, organisational psychology professor Sir Cary Cooper said: “The benefit of design inspired by nature, known as biophilic design, is accumulating evidence at a rapid pace. Looking at a snapshot of global working environments, up to one in five people have no natural elements within their workspace, and alarmingly nearly 50% of workers have no natural light. Yet a third of us say that workplace design would affect our decision to join a company. There’s a big disparity here and one that hints at workplace design only recently rising to prominence as a crucial factor.”
While humans need oxygen to survive, plants absorb a gas we don’t need – carbon dioxide – and combine it with water and light to produce energy in a process called photosynthesis.
In the 1980s, scientists at NASAdiscovered that plants were adept at removing chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air, making it cleaner for humans to breathe.
More recent research led by Dr Fraser Torpy, director of the University of Technology Sydney Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Research Group, has found that indoor plants can help reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 10% in air-conditioned offices, and by about 25% in buildings without air conditioning.
“We found palms beat everything else for carbon dioxide,” said Torpy. “But when it comes to volatile organics everything is the same – it doesn’t matter… A medium-sized plant (anything above about 20cm) in a room will make really big reductions to those particular chemicals.”
By absorbing sounds (rather than insulating against noise pollution), plants help to reduce the distracting effects of background office chatter. Positioning larger plant pots, in multiple locations in the edges and corners of a room has the great positive benefit, according to a 1995 paper by researchers at London South Bank University.
The 2015 Human Spaces report also found that employees whose offices included natural elements scored 15% higher for creativity than those whose offices didn’t include such elements.
Attention restoration theory suggests that looking at nature – and even just images of nature – can shift the brain into a different processing mode, making employees feel more relaxed and better able to concentrate.
Not all plants will love to live in your workplace – you need to consider restrictions such as the availability of daylight, and how often they can and will be watered. Those that will thrive in workplaces include succulents (which include aloe and cacti), rubber plants and peace lilies.
It is Monday morning. People have the Monday blues apparently.
My newsfeeds are ram packed full of memes about Monday mornings, groaning about going back to work, about how the weekend ended too soon and that they are reaching for the coffee to begrudgingly kick start the beginning of the week…..
Ugh! *Makes dramatic huff, sigh and shoulder shrug to go with the noise of the word*
It’s all too easy to get caught up in negativity on a Monday morning and you end up feeling like you should be unhappy because ‘everyone else is’! It’s absurd. And, as a person, it is no way to start your week or any day – heck, the Monday blues can put a huge strain on your mental and emotional well-being!
It only takes one negative voice to create a descent into the gloom and that voice might even be our own inside our own head. Yet it is like a domino effect and a half when collective consciousness (figuratively speaking!) starts to take swipes at poor old Monday morning, and before we know it, we are in a grump and are dramatically huffing and puffing our way into the Monday blues.
How do you combat it? How do you turn it around? Let’s nip this in the bud, shall we?
It is not hard to create an environment where you don’t have to experience these feelings and you look forward to going into the office, or to work each day; being aware of doing it is a step in the right direction. Then altering our experience of life to one, which is far more rewarding and enjoyable on many levels.
Do some or all of this stuff to beat the Monday blues:
Get Enough Sleep and Rise Early:
At times we burn the candle at both ends leaving no room for rest, but research says that you cannot catch up on lost sleep. There may be no more important night to get rest than Sunday night, and no better remedy for Monday blues than a solid night’s sleep. The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “Sleep is the best form of meditation.”
Feeling down is not helped if you’re feeling exhausted too. And tiredness can make small problems feel like huge issues. Grab an early night tonight – not only will Blue Monday feel shorter but you’ll feel better on Tuesday.
Prepare for Monday on Friday:
I have a flash card blue tacked to my office light switch that reads “Is tomorrow planned?” I want to be able to step into my office and know right away what it is that I am doing. In particular when stepping into the office on Monday morning.
Have a think about what’s coming up at work next week. Is there anything that will be hanging over your head if you don’t get it done beforehand? Don’t leave dealing with a complaint, a long-winded but inevitable task or an unwanted phone call for your Monday. Bite the bullet and once it’s done, that’s another weight off your shoulders that can leave your weekend feeling much lighter. Getting the tough stuff done as early as possible on Friday means your Monday will be less fearful or dread inducing.
Have an After Work Plan:
What is there to look forward to on a Monday?
Beating the Monday Blues isn’t just about what you do at work but what you do when you’re not. Plan to go and see a friend, eat something delicious somewhere nice or go and sweat out some stress in the gym; do something that makes you feel good, something you can look forward to.
Keeping yourself busy with activities you enjoy will set you up to take control of Monday, rather than letting Monday control you. Choose your Monday rather than being a passive recipient of it. Plan it well and turn it into something to look forward to.
Find some time in your day to disconnect with it. That is, you can let go of Monday at regular intervals in the day. Take some time out for a quality break – use that to have some fun as I suggested in the previous point, or engage in some mindfulness, some self-hypnosis, some solitude. Be unplugged and disconnect from the world for a while.
You’ll be much more productive with your working role as a result too. Read this article for more on this subject:
Solitude – The Importance of ‘Me Time’ and How It’ll Make You More Successful
Exercise and fitness are essential for everyone. It changes your body, releasing chemicals that reduce anxiety and stress, and increase happiness. Even just a short run, gym workout or a walk in the park.
Exercise is also an opportunity to take some time out to let your brain relax and wander. If you’re feeling low energy or uninspired, getting moving is the best thing that you can do.
Go and get oxygenated and get some feelgood chemicals in your system at the same time.
Do What You Love:
It was Steve Jobs that said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
It couldn’t be truer! You might find it difficult to be good at something you’re not passionate about; equally you might struggle to enjoy something you’re not passionate about. It’s as simple as that. Passion is a key component in Jim Collins’ three circles theory of business success: you must be passionate about it, it must make economic sense, and you must be the best at what you’re doing.
When work is such a major part of your life, then maybe you should consider doing something you enjoy or love? You’ll be skipping into work on Monday’s instead of dreading it.
Be Goal Focused:
Think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why do you work? What are you working toward? What is the purpose?
Having a goal in mind and written down, you’re always reminded of why you’re doing what you’re doing. You have a path, a reason to get up, look forward to getting into work on Monday and get stuck in to reaching that target. Being aware of that, reminding yourself of it, gives your Monday (and any other day) some purpose and inherent value rather than feeling blue about it.
You might also consider your own development in addition to other goals related to what you do. Training, ongoing development, education and personal growth is essential for job satisfaction. Perhaps that is because not only are you learning and developing, you also have an end goal in mind – an exam or deadline to work towards and that is incredibly motivating. These kinds of goals can lead to you having other options and directions in life that give you more ‘get up and go’ to remove Monday blues.
A little (or a LOT) bit of fun and laughter is a great way to shake off a case of the Monday blues. Bring humour, and playfulness with you into your Monday. This is a simple way to brighten the day and it’s a good supply of energy to help productivity.
Read more about these topics here:
1. How and Why You Need To Be More Playful and Childlike.
2. The Science of Laughter: Why Laughing is Really Good for Your Health.
Develop New Habits:
If you have trouble getting started on Monday mornings, then forge new habits that will banish the Monday blues. That is, start engaging in more of the afore mentioned points so that they become second nature; healthy habits that have you looking forward to Mondays and seeing them as filled with opportunity, excitement and enjoyment.
Reward yourself along the way for taking new actions that build the habits that produce bigger results over time.
While some may consider Monday to be the worst day of the week, you, on the other hand, will learn to make the most of it. Take charge of your Mondays by relishing it and supercharging it. All you need is a momentum to keep you going. Wave goodbye the the Monday blues; soon Mondays may even become your favourite day of the week. Maybe….
Resigning from a job is never easy. Aside from leaving favourite colleagues and the familiarity of a current role, writing a tactful resignation letter can prove a real challenge.
Failing to plan your letter of resignation properly may well burn bridges with the company you’ve worked so hard for and taint your list of connections within that company—a record which may well help you grow your career in the future.
Here’s a guide to what to say when resigning, details on whether a resignation letter is required by law and who to address a resignation letter to.
Letters of resignation are one of the first stages of career transformation and growth. They are not required by law in the UK, but before you opt to skip writing one, the government does recommend checking your employment contract to ensure you aren’t in breach of any agreements made when you started your job.
If you aren’t sure, try checking your induction handbook or any literature you were provided with on your first day. Your contract also might include details as to what’s expected of you when terminating your employment, so read through it again before you take any action. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to make your resignation formal with a letter.
Before you sit down to write anything, you should think through your decision to leave your current role. Once you’re confident that seeking a new opportunity is the right move for you, the next step is to download the Robert Half Salary Guide so you can benchmark your remuneration package options and growth opportunities against the UK hiring market.
Taking these initial steps will put you on firm ground to negotiate any counter offers from current employers and give you added confidence in your decision. It’s also a good idea to have another job lined up before you resign so that you can transition seamlessly into a new role without any delays.
Although you can easily pull together a generic letter, it’s far more useful to create a tailored one. Try following this template resignation letter structure to ensure you include all the essential components:
(Insert Current date)
(Insert Manager’s name)
(Insert Company Name)
(Insert Company Address)
Dear (Insert Manager’s name)
Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation from (the position) at(company name). My last day with the company will be (date).
Before I leave, I will ensure that all my projects are completed as far as possible, and I am happy to assist in any way to ensure a smooth handover to my replacement.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work at (company) for (years of service). During this time I have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere within the team, and I will miss our interactions.
While I am excited by the new opportunities that I will be pursuing in my new role, I will always remember my time at (company name) with affection. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information after I leave, and I would be delighted if you stay in touch.
(Your printed name)
Using these essential components, you should be able to start writing a resignation letter which feels far less cold, shows genuine regret for leaving and displays appreciation.