2020 was a challenging year for the workplace as the majority of occupations reverted to home-based offices. Remote working does come with a few benefits (no traffic jams on the commute to the spare room), but also plenty of challenges. And as we enter into a third lockdown, this practice isn’t ending soon.
Isolation is one key concern, so we thought outside the box about ways to combat that for our workforce. We love coming up with positive solutions to difficult situations – so what could we do that would link all our team together beyond the standard communication tools?
Consistency was crucial, providing them with a connection to the office and each other. Daily video meetings are vital to keeping us all communicating, but we wanted to have a common thread for our new office spaces. Whilst we’re all linked by a laptop, we felt we needed something with more natural resonance.
One of the core ingredients of the layout at Soap HQ are plants, so we thought why not make sure everyone has their own in their personal working space? This resonated as the perfect solution, and one much more harmonious with our inner selves than the (essential) tech.
Looking at them from a scientific perspective, plants are instrumental pieces of kit. They give life, converting the carbon dioxide we exhale into the oxygen that keeps us alive, and for many, they offer calm and provide a soothing influence. Research has analysed the benefits they can deliver, with studies showing they can increase productivity, improve creativity and concentration, and reduce stress.
For this reason, biophilic design has become a mainstay in many workspaces. It aims to marry the natural environment to buildings directly and is famously at the core of Apple’s flagship California office, Apple Park. And whilst we couldn’t quite commission an interior designer to create plant infused walls for all our team, the simple gesture of buying them all a plant enabled us to find a common connection.
We gave each employee a budget to purchase through beards & daisies, the company we used for the plants in our office. And, as you can see from the above images, there’s variety in the spaces our team are utilising! We ordered the plants towards the end of last year, and already we’re enthusiastic about the impact they’ve had on our home environments – as well as marvelling at them during our daily catch-ups. It’s certainly a unique take on a digital watercooler moment!
2021 will hopefully bring a return to a mutual office, even if only for part of the week, so we’re already planning on providing more individual desk plants when we return. Have you similarly used plants in your office? Or anything else to freshen up your workspace? Let us know by joining in the conversation on our social media accounts – LinkedIn – Facebook – Instagram – Twitter.