Implemented as part of Sue’s Safety Challenge during the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project 2019-2020
What: Bringing nature into the office
Whose idea? Aileen White, Education Officer
Why? Many of us spend a considerable part of our time inside offices, and plants can be a simple and cost-effective way of improving our surroundings and reducing stress.
Being near an element of nature can boost wellbeing, as opposed to working in a bare, streamlined environment. Studies have shown there are benefits to incorporating greenery into the workspace, as people crave nature – this is known as ‘biophilia’.
A trend in office space has seen an almost clinical, bare desk movement take place. In a study from the University of Exeter such ‘lean’ staff environments are compared to that of a bare gorilla enclosure, stating that ‘sometimes – less is just less’. The study goes on to suggest having plants in the office can even improve memory and retention.
At the Trust, we want to encourage anything that makes our colleagues happier, with no negative impact on those who have no particular opinion about greenery.
Implemented? Yes. We were keen to ensure the nature we brought into the office was resilient and appropriate, as – should the worst happen – we are doubtful a room full of limp and wilting plants would improve anyone’s mood.
We now have a selection of cacti scattered liberally around the office, as they need little to no maintenance and serve the intended purpose. They will also bring a little extra joy when they flower.
Aileen was the second person selected to win one of 12 silver hard hat keyrings. She’s pictured here with her prize.