You could be forgiven for thinking that the growth of corporate gardens is simply a green form of outward company power, a display of entitlement filtered through foliage.
However, in the right context, the corporate garden can be all about the grass roots, both literally and metaphorically. Why are corporate gardens growing (naturally) and evolving into a vital means of employee engagement?
“We know how important the environment is for job satisfaction and how staff feel about their employer,” Ajaz Haq of, workplace design specialists, Form Interior Contracts comments, “and this is another way of improving where people work.”
Green at Work
Traditionally, green initiatives in the workplace have involved cutting down on paper consumption and introducing recycling.
“As more city centre buildings install their own roof and corporate gardens, these spaces are becoming more than mere showcases and now play an important part in improving employee relations and boosting productivity”
“This can take a variety of forms, from providing a more natural-feeling space for employees to take a break in, to encouraging members of staff to grow their own vegetables,” Ajaz explains.
Research, commissioned for the Forestry Commission, indicates that natural space is an aid to rejuvenating people’s mental energies, and helps with concentration. In this sense, corporate gardens echo the multi-functionality of modern breakout areas, where employees can take a break from their workstations or discuss work in a more informal setting.
The Forestry Commission’s research is echoed by that of Exeter University scientists, who have found that just adding plants to an office can boost employee wellbeing and productivity by up to 30%.
Digging for Engagement
In parts of the US, corporate gardens are a now well-established phenomenon, where employees can grow their own organic food.
“To some extent these gardens represent a fashionable and cost-effective perk,” Ajaz remarks. “You can spend less on employee benefits by encouraging them to grow their own produce. However, gardens also make employees feel valued, and can echo the interests many have in gardening in their own backyards.”
“In this sense, they blur the work-life boundary to produce positive results for both the employees and their employers,” concludes Ajaz. “The employees are more engaged, and the company gets to present a softer, more caring side to its corporate culture.”
To discover more about how your environment can improve productivity and boost employee relations please call Form Interior Contracts on 0161 410 0010.