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Career Growth (or why you should have plants in the office)

Whether you work from home or at an office, it’s likely that you spend many of your waking hours at work. In fact, British workers will spend an average of 3,515 full days at work over the course of their lifetime (Lucy Skoulding, Accountancy Age, 2018). This being the case, it makes sense to make this environment, in which you spend the majority of your waking hours, a pleasant place to spend…the majority of your waking hours. 

Obviously there are things we have little to no control over. If your company’s office does not have enough natural light for instance, you’re unlikely to be able to request larger windows and a skylight. Unless you work very remotely, you can’t move the office building to a climate that better suits your mood. 

There are however, things you can do to improve your work environment.

It is that easy being green 

Plants - as the title of this post suggests, are a great idea for the office. Don’t just take my word for it though - numerous studies, including a 2010 study by the new University of Technology, Sydney, have found that introducing plants to the office significantly reduces stress among workers. They also boost both creativity and productivity and remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air, so you can breath a little more easily. Plants can make an office less noisy, more calming and increase the likelihood that your staff will want to stay and new staff will want to join. All they ask for in return is sunlight, a little water and a repotting once in a while (the plants, not the staff).


Let the sunshine in 

As I said you probably can’t move your office or add new windows but you can make the most of what’s available to you. If there’s natural light available, let it flood into the room to help everyone feel more awake, more positive and help keep their circadian rhythms in check. If more sunlight isn’t really an option at all, go outside during breaks. This can be difficult during the dead of winter when the last thing you want to do is go on a lunchtime outing but the light and the air can help give perspective and make you feel better overall.

Jump around 

For a lot of people working in sedentary jobs, sitting mostly still all day is a ’necessary evil’ that we’ve come to endure. You may have heard that ’sitting is the new smoking’ and read the horrifying effects that sitting at a computer can have on your body over time (eye ache and back pain and headaches, oh my!). This is a complex issue and may not be healed overnight but you can make improvements. If you have the energy to run to/from work (or both during your lunch break) go for it; if you can fit in an exercise class or cycle those are great too but you can also start small. Start by moving around. If you work in an office, go to your coworkers desk rather than emailing them. Get up and move around from time to time. Stretch, go and make that cup of tea. If you must stay seated for long periods at a time, try to move more and change position as you do so. 

Moving forward (and backwards and sideways)

Wherever you work, whatever your working circumstances, you may not be able to wrangle a four day week, a six hour day, or a remote working location on a boat in Vanuatu, but try following the suggestions above and see if it brings more joy to your working day.


Frances Smolinski

Created on Monday September 02 2019 02:27 PM


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