World FM Day 2018: Enabling Positive Experiences

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It’s #WorldFMDay – Hurrah! We’re joining in the celebrations and recognition of Facilities Management (FM) people and projects that enable positive experiences. Some of our biggest clients are FM companies and BIFM members, so we know a thing or two about helping get things right for you and your clients.

In today’s world our cities are so built up and our environments often claustrophobic and bland so it’s more important than ever that we work together to create welcoming, feel-good spaces to enable businesses (and people) to thrive.

What could be more suitable than floristry and green planting to bring positive changes to the built environment?   Planteria Group has 40 years of experience working with FM companies providing planting and floristry services to suit your budget.  Even if you’re already working with another planting provider, we’re confident we can go above and beyond to meet your requirements.  If you’re considering us, why not request a no-obligation free quote?

 

5 Positive Benefits of Planting for the Built Environment:

1) Soften the interior and/or exterior of your business, providing psychological benefits such as positive effects on reducing stress and promoting health and well-being. As humans we have an innate desire to be connected to nature, also known as biophilia, and it seems we have lost much of this ability to be in the natural world as our cities and work environments have become absorbed by the concrete jungle. By adding a variety of plants and flowers for businesses we suddenly bring back a part of the nature that we crave.

2) Increase productivity, creativity and happiness. It is proven that a vibrant, welcoming environment has positive effects on the speed at which we work and improves mood. Studies show that employees who are exposed to plants within the workplace, actively engage with their surroundings, are more productive and have a more positive outlook at work.

3) Make spaces more welcoming and inviting for employees, visitors and clients. Having a space that is pleasant to be in and beckons to visitors has a positive effect on businesses and improves perception of their image. Plants and flowers bring life to a space and boosts eco-credentials too.

4) Improve air quality and reduce allergens by cleansing the air. As shown in NASA’s Clean Air Study, plants provide a natural way of removing toxins from the air and also reduces the presence of aggravating allergens. NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.

5) Reduce sickness and absence at work. Combining all of the points above results in reduced illness and time away from work, increasing the overall effectiveness of businesses and staff wellbeing. One of the most common illnesses in today’s workplace is Sick Building Syndrome which is often linked to poor air quality and indoor air circulation which can easily be combated with a variety of planting solutions.

A recent Norwegian research study tested what happened when plants were placed into and then removed from offices. When plants were present headaches, coughs, sore throats, fatigue and dry skin all reduced. Several similar studies around the world have found similar results:

  • Absenteeism reduced by 30%+
  • Minor illnesses reduced by up to 30%
  • Dry skin reduced by up to 20%
  • Coughing reduced by up 37% due to improved air quality

Interested in how we can offer similar improvements for you?

Have a look at some of our Creative Planting Innovations & our Nationwide Orchid Delivery Service.

Contact Us Today or Request a Free Online Quote.

Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for regular updates, inspiration and case studies.

4 Tips to Boost Morale

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Four Simple & Inexpensive Ways to Improve Morale in Your Workplace:

by Chloe Pooley @ Liquidline

Making a good impression on behalf of your company doesn’t just revolve around your attitude towards staff and clients, but more so on how you present your business. Presenting your office well is one of the most forgotten about issues when managing a company and it’s rather easy to slip up, ending up with an office with mess here there and everywhere. Everything right down to how your office looks can affect the morale given off in the workplace which can even start to have an impact on your clients. There is nothing like a good first impression, so here are four simple ways you can implement today in which you can help to improve morale throughout the workplace for both employees and clients.

 

Offer Fresh Coffee Straight From Your Office

Everyone loves real coffee. There’s nothing better than waking up to the aroma of fresh coffee, so don’t make your employees even more stressed in a queue for Costa, bring the coffee right to your office, bean to cup, with a commercial coffee machine. As well as treating your employees, clients can also benefit from this, because who doesn’t love an impromptu cup of fresh coffee throughout the day? This is definitely one of the most simple, yet most important features that you can add to your office, and you’ll be surprised at the rewards it brings.

 

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

There is something truly pleasant and pleasing about a fresh bunch of flowers for offices. If your employees are working long hours, various fresh plants displays or flowers arrangements dotted throughout the office can definitely help boost morale and productivity. Just having an injection of colour and the fresh enticing smell of fresh flowers is sure to brighten moods; as well as transforming a clinical office into something much more welcoming and potentially inspiring. Flowers will also help promote an appealing image for your company and brand, so there are benefits to be had internally and externally when considering corporate horticulture.  . Make it even easier for yourself by having flowers delivered fresh every week and plants maintained and service.

 

Keep Clutter to a Minimum

Messy employees? It’s easy to let standards slip when many people spend almost as much awake time in the office as they do at home. But not only does an untidy office impact the positivity of your staff, it will also look unsightly to clients coming into the office. Encourage your employees to cleanse and purge! A clutter-free area is proven to be good for you and tidying can even be therapeutic which can work as a morale booster in itself.

 

Welcome Ideas From Your Staff

Make yourself welcome to suggestions about how you can improve the morale across the workplace from your staff and even clients. After all, if you don’t actually know what is lowering the morale in the first place, then how will you fix it? But don’t just ask, start to implement these ideas!

What will you be doing to boost the moral in your workplace?

This blog post has been contributed by Liquidline, our suppliers for delicious coffee.

Celebrating National Parks Week

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There are many things associated with the UK: tea that solves a multitude of ills, rain that never ceases and queuing that is a national sport in itself. Yet this sceptered isle is also renowned for its green spaces and as such boasts an astonishing fifteen National Parks across the nation.

This month, a week-long calendar of events is taking place to celebrate our National Parks and encourage us to get out and explore them.

From Sunday 22nd to Sunday 29th July a range of activities that the whole family can get involved in will be taking place up and down the country and here  at Planteria Group we take a look at what’s going on and why you should get involved.

 

A Walk on the Wildside

Amongst the many studies that support the theory of the benefits that nature has on our mental health as well as our physical well-being, there is increasing focus on how interaction with animals influences this too.

With that in mind, the wildlife-friendly events organised as part of this week-long festival provide the perfect opportunity to get involved.

If you’re local to Exmoor, why not join the Evening Deer Search for a two-hour walk over three miles looking for the Red Deer at the Exmoor National Park on Tuesday 24th July starting at 7pm? Naturally shy beasts, it might be worth taking binoculars to ensure you catch a glimpse, but no dogs please!

Earlier on in the same day, the Yorkshire Dales National Park hosts a Secret Squirrel event in which a specialist guide will show you how to look for the squirrels and other wildlife that make the peaceful woods their home. Being a gentle afternoon stroll covering just a mile and a half, this is an ideal event for young and old alike.

 

Treasure Hunters

A fantastic family event takes place on the Thursday of National Parks Week on the Cleveland Way National Trail, part of the North York Moors National Park. Taking around two hours to complete and costing five pounds per family, this fun Geocaching activity involves using a GPS unit provided as part of the event to locate clues that have been hidden in boxes. What’s more, as long as your dogs are on a short lead, they are welcome to help sniff out the clues!

The little ones can take charge with the Young Explorers Smugglers’ Treasure Hunt – with one nearly every day of the event – and use their smugglers’ map to search for hidden treasure, meeting at the Danby centre.

 

Getting Active

If you fancy something more physical, the Run ‘n’ Park event at Balloch on Saturday 28th July might just be for you; with a 2k and a 5k course marked out taking in the stunning, iconic views of Loch Lomond and with no official recording of times, you can take this event at your own pace and enjoy the great outdoors.

The kids can get involved at the New Forest National Park on each day of the festival on the Holiday Adventure Days. With activities throughout the whole day that they can enjoy, you can guarantee they’ll have a good night’s sleep after all that fun.

 

Getting Crafty

If you’re more of a hands-on type of person, there are plenty of great events for you to take advantage of. From dry-stone walling, letter-carving and archery to machine embroidery, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill in beautiful outdoor settings. Take a look at  the diary of events to find an activity near you.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for an official week of events to enjoy our National Parks – nor are you only restricted to visiting a National Park to reap the benefits of spending time outdoors amongst nature.

Dr Andrea Mechelli of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College London, acknowledges that whilst it has long been understood that there is a positive link between contact with nature and health – in particular mental health – the lack of ability to gather qualitative data has led to little compelling evidence to support this.

With this in mind, he collaborated with the developers of an app called Urban Mind which tracked users’ movements through mobile devices and randomly asked them questions about their feelings and their immediate environment.

The findings were quite staggering, including not only demonstrating this positive link between the outdoors and health but also providing surprising but measurable results in terms of the length of time these positive effects lasted. He found, for example, that a single exposure to nature such as a walk or even time spent in a garden can have beneficial effects lasting up to seven hours.

Additional studies have shown how incorporating a green outdoor space in other settings, such as hospitals and care homes, has had a positive influence on successful outcomes for patients in relation to aiding their ultimate recovery in the case of the former and their improved well-being whilst being cared for in both circumstances.

So, the recent trend for providing an outdoor space in unexpected locations such as offices has been shown to be more than just improving the aesthetics; it can actually have a beneficial emotional impact on employees that can last a whole working day in addition to creating a pleasant environment to take a break and enjoy the visual stimulation, access to vitamin D and peace quiet from the humdrum of an office.

Additionally, these spaces provide an easy talking point that enables colleagues to engage with each other naturally thus improving relationships, whilst also providing handy sustenance and shelter for local wildlife.

The good news is that you don’t have to find the room to recreate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in order to do this; any amount of space can accommodate an element of nature, from a small collection of pots planted up with flowers, a green ‘living wall’ to a roof garden hosting low-maintenance plants such as lavenders and other scented butterfly attracting plants.

Here at Planteria Group, we specialise in Corporate Floristry to help organisations to provide green spaces for the benefit both of their employees and their customers so to see how we could help you bring nature closer to home – or rather the workplace – get in touch with us.

The Business Case for Celebration

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We’ve all been through a lot this year, Brexit, financial instability on the markets, turbulent politics at home and outside the UK. In true British style when the going gets tough the tough find everything they can to celebrate and be positive about.

If this seems a trivial thing, or superfluous to business requirements, it might be time to take a fresh approach and see what benefits can be brought to you by finding opportunities to celebrate.

You only have to look back a short way in history to be inspired by the famous ‘Blitz spirit’ Londoner’s displayed in the second world war, to see that this attitude is a winning formula. When the chips were down and the City was being destroyed around them, Londoner’s pulled together, they soldiered on and they found time to gather together to sing and celebrate small things. We can’t compare our current situation to the adversity of war-time London, but we can take a lesson from their attitude.

You’ve heard the expression ‘work hard and play hard’ this is a key part of building passionate, productive and resilient teams. If you’ve set targets and worked hard to achieve them, taking the time to celebrate is imperative. Recognising and celebrating when you reach your goals, or even smaller goals on the path to the final destination makes the effort worthwhile and reinforces the satisfaction of achievement. Take time out to applaud the efforts of all concerned with a meal, a reward or recognition event.

Here are some really good reasons why you should celebrate your successes:

A happy workplace brings better results for companies and individuals and is cited as a main reason for staff retention.

Celebrating with your team increases bonding and builds teams that work better together.

Celebrating success reminds the team of why you set the goal in the first place and spurs your team on to greater achievements.

Ironically sometimes even celebrating failure can be a key to success. Read how Spotify celebrated an unsuccessful experiment, and how not sweeping the results under the rug, but discussing it openly, created a win.

A great chance is coming your way, Christmas is fast-approaching, so why not plan an up-beat end to the year? Decorate your office, with Christmas Trees, wreaths and garlands. Push the boat out and plan a Christmas Party, Secret Santa draw, or festive drinks? Show your appreciation to your team for their efforts over the year, and use it as a perfect opportunity for some team-building.

With the lines between work and life blurring and the fact that we are often spending more time with our colleagues than our family members it’s important to create a more relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. To quote Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson “A business has to be involving it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts”.

‘Tis the season for goodwill to all men. So let it work for you and give you an excellent reason to end on a high note. Celebrate your collective successes, and spring-board your team into a positive and prosperous New Year.

Trees and decorations – let’s take care of that part for you!

The Secret to Happiness at Work

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We hear about it all the time; it could be you or it could be a colleague, but someone that you know, somewhere right this second, is currently complaining about their line of work. What we are asking ourselves in this blog, is how much of this unhappiness is self-imposed, and what can we possibly do to help ourselves learn to love life (including work) a little more?

Happiness is a State of Mind

Happiness comes easier to some people than it does to others – it’s a simple fact. It’s a bit like losing weight; not everyone finds achieving the perfect figure a breeze, and for some of us, trying to feel happy and upbeat can leave us feeling more tired than a full workout.

Just like reading blogs about work-out tips and tricks to take to the gym, you can’t simply read advice about how to improve your level of happiness and expect to see the benefits without putting the work in. This blog will provide you with a happiness training regime for your mind, however, it’s up to you to act on it and find what works.

How to Wake-up Happy

We all have those days where we ‘get out of the wrong side of the bed’ – when the bed is just too warm, it’s cold outside, and you know you have a difficult day ahead of you how can you reduce the chance that you might start your day off on the wrong foot?

Get More Sleep

The first question to ask yourself is how you have been sleeping? Good sleep is crucial to having a positive attitude, so you should begin your path to happiness by working out how many hours of sleep you get and how it makes you feel in the morning. Everybody functions differently on different levels of sleep, so don’t let anyone else tell you what the norm is, because it is something best figured out for yourself.

On average, women need more sleep than men, and younger people need more sleep than older people. Your personal requirement for optimal function will also be affected by the amount of physical and mental stresses of your week. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

In today’s society, it can be difficult to recognise sleep as productive, but it is important to challenge this misconception. Achieving the right amount of sleep for you will improve your productivity, confidence and general health – what could be more productive than that?

Assess Your Sleep

Sleep isn’t merely a matter of hours spent in bed, unfortunately. The quality of your sleep is important too. If you wake up in the middle of the night, then your quality of sleep is arguably less than that of someone who successfully sleeps the whole night. If this is you, then try to establish a better bedtime routine. Winding down physically and mentally, and switching off electronics the hour before you plan to turn in, also avoiding caffeine in the evenings are helpful moves.

Warm baths before bed, good ventilation in the bedroom and also having houseplants like English Ivy or a Peace Lily for their air-purifying abilities can help some people.

Get Up Earlier

Getting up earlier can also work wonders to make you feel more positive and set the tone for the rest of your day, putting you in control of your morning. Perhaps your usual morning starts off in a bit of a rush to get out of bed, get dressed, finding last minute items that you need for your day, taking children to school, skip breakfast, grab coat, lock door and rush to work. It sounds a bit stressful, doesn’t it?

Getting up even half an hour earlier will allow you to get out of bed in a more relaxed manner. You will be less likely to forget important things while you are getting prepared for the day ahead. Most importantly you will have time to enjoy your breakfast, rather than just trying to eat it as quickly as possible or worse still, skip it. Breakfasting on healthy things like whole grains and fruit and including some protein, eggs for example or a protein smoothie, will set you up for the day and help to support a positive mindset. A quick carb and sugar breakfast of cereal or white toast and jam sends your blood sugar on a roller coaster of a quick high and then crash and burn

Just by finding the right amount of sleep to get and re-setting your morning routine, you can improve your mood and well-being at the start of your day. The next challenge is how you take that state of mind to work and keep it there.

Getting to Work Happy

Getting to work happy can be a challenge, especially when the traffic is bad. One way to offset this is by driving with the window open. Recent studies have found that stuffy environments with high CO2 levels can make people feel tired, which we want to avoid. By walking, cycling, or driving with the window open, you are increasing your exposure to fresh air in the morning, which is more healthy for your body and mind. You can read more about the importance of good air in our blog:Indoor Air Quality: Facts & How To Improve.

If you can walk or cycle to work this is great news because regular exercise is excellent for your body and mind too. Exercise brings transformative change to your brain, promotes a feeling of well-being and calm and releases endorphins – chemicals which make you feel really good and lifts your spirits.

If you are in the car, singing or listening to music is also recommended. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their mood and boost their happiness significantly in a matter of just two weeks.

How to Stay Happy at Work

Arriving at work presents the most challenging barrier between you and your happiness, because there will be factors that you can’t always prepare for, like a sudden crisis requiring you to work overtime or a difficult situation with something that saps your energy and patience. Finding happiness at work can be a test of resilience, but there is plenty you can do to improve it.

Keep Your Energy Up

At work, you will appreciate those extra hours of sleep and your pleasant morning routine all the more, because you will have more energy to deal with problems once they arise. This means that instead of buckling under pressure, you will be more likely to be productive and successful in the morning.

Many people find happiness from being productive and successful, so utilising tips to make the most of your day can help you to achieve more. Getting yourself organised can help a lot, but so can regulated and healthy snack breaks to rest your mind.

As well as perfecting your daily habits to promote productivity, you should also consider the environment that you work in, and maybe even consider changing seats in your office. Sitting next to people who can motivate you and with whom you can get along is another crucial factor to enjoying your day at work. You need to be with people who can pick you up when things go wrong or in the afternoon when your energy is lagging a little.

Workplace Environment

For some people, an untidy desk can be distracting; Junk food wrappers, stationary and random bits of tat can distract workers. This doesn’t mean that empty desks are the answer, however; improving your happiness by adding some beautiful office plants will bring many benefits to your workplace.

Office plants provide not only aesthetic improvements that are known to boost creativity in offices. The ‘Biophilia Hypothesis’ is the much-studied theory that human beings have an innate connection with nature, and that our connection to plants, flowers and other natural features in our environment contributes to our health and wellbeing. Having a view of plants in the workplace makes people more relaxed, less stressed, up to 15% more productive, and more creative than being in a workplace devoid of them.

Plants can also reduce levels of CO2, which, as previously mentioned, can have a negative impact on workers’ energy, productivity and health. A green office is a healthy office, and a healthy office is a happy office. We recommend the peace lily, snake plant or areca palm to craft the ultimate office atmosphere. You can read more about The Top 5 Plants for Your Office on our blog, or contact us for a free quote if you are interested in getting a bespoke design service for your office with us.

Add more fresh air to your day by going outside for a walk in nature, by taking a lunch break, breathing deeply and getting more exercise. You might be tempted to work through lunch, eating a sandwich at your desk, but you’ll be more productive and energised by taking a break and getting active.

Finding happiness is all about how you treat yourself and finding the willpower to keep good habits going. It might not be easy for you to put all of these methods into practice – we understand how hard it can be to put your phone down and go to sleep – but a bit of sleep, a better diet, some more exercise and a few plants can make a world of difference.

Forest Bathing

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Everyone has those days, you know the ones – those days when you knock your coffee over at work, get bumped into in the street and forget to send a time-sensitive email. For that week when things are not going well and you’ve missed the bus home, you need to consider a forest bath.

Forest bathing is a rising trend, and with good reason – it could be an eco-friendly solution to the bottled-up stresses experienced by workers across the country, and it’s incredibly easy to do. In this article, we discuss the joys of forest bathing and where it comes from.

Where Did Forest Bathing Originate

As a country that prizes self-improvement practices and simplicity, Japan has a lot to teach the West about the pursuit of health and happiness and one of the best places for the uninitiated to start is with ‘shinrin-yoku’ – forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku literally translates to ‘forest bathing’, is a fun but very accurate description of this relaxing activity.

The practice of forest bathing under the label of shinrin-yoku began in Japan in 1982 as part of a public health programme, but, truthfully, humans have been practising variants of the activity unprompted for hundreds of years. The poetry from the era of British Romanticism the 19th century can attest to the benefits that nature had on the soul, but never before has this activity been undertaken by thousands as part of a knowing trend.

Some have linked the current popularity of forest bathing to recent surges in mindfulness. Shinrin-yoku is about learning to put your mental-wellbeing first and foremost, and it just so happens that nature is a free and accessible resource which can help us to achieve this.

How to Forest Bathe

Forest bathing is a simple process requiring you to take a few hours out of your day, occasionally, to go and wander in nature. It really is as easy as that. Some schools of thought will put an emphasis on leaving all your electronics at home, but it is understandable that not everyone would feel safe doing this and if you don’t feel safe you will struggle to relax. Instead, it is important to remember that you only get out what you put in, so, by all means, bring your mobile phone, but try to resist the temptation to start texting during your session.

To begin, head out towards a forest or wood and the rest is up to you. You could spend the time walking, resting or investigating plant life – acting on these desires can help to improve your self-confidence, especially after a long week of holding back frustration at work. Try to act on all of your senses, sight, smell, touch and hearing, enjoying a fully immersive experience of the forest.

Why Forest Bathing is Good for Your Health

Shinrin-yoku is very relaxing, which also means that it will reduce heart rate and blood pressure in those practising it. This can be very important for people who struggle with heart problems as the ability to unwind can be more than mentally beneficial, it could have lasting effects on predicted lifespan.

An added effect of forest bathing is that it encourages people to get out and enjoy taking physical exercise in nature. Instead of appreciating it from watching it on television. Forest bathing gets people off the sofa and out walking in the fresh air which is so important. However well ventilated your home or workplace may be, nothing can rival the positive effects of clean air on the body. This means that you should try to make wellness trips to clean air spaces like forests every now and then.

In any fitness regime, or diet, the majority of people see their best results near the beginning when they have the most weight to lose, and you can view your mental wellbeing as a similar muscle; while you may see the best effects from forest bathing if you engage only on your most stressful days, you could succeed in making long-lasting changes to your outlook if you practice shinrin-yoku regularly.

Problems in the UK

It is estimated by nhsforest.org that if Central Bedfordshire encouraged 10% of its population to exercise, by providing better access to good quality green spaces, it would save around £2.9m in healthcare costs. Currently, a lack of green space is preventing more people from enjoying the benefits of shinrin-yoku.

The NHS also reports that green spaces have huge benefits to physical, mental and social health, meaning that the public should aim to protect and improve its health by protecting its plants, woods and forests. If this isn’t convincing enough, then perhaps the statistic reported by Natural England regarding our children can convince you that we need to be putting plants in our cities;

‘more than 10% of children have not set foot in a park, forest, or other natural environment over the previous 12 months’ (2016)

This is termed by many as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, and it is something that we need to fix. If not by making the effort to travel to green spaces, then by incorporating more greenery into our cities, offices and homes.

We can do this by improving our collective respect for plant life, and our connection of nature, by adding planting to both indoor and outdoor spaces where we can. From window boxes and trough planters to desktops and cabinet tops. This begins with individuals, especially those in prominent positions. Perhaps you have the opportunity to raise the health, output and mood of your workforce by introducing some indoor office plants to your workplace?

Further Reading:

1) Forest Bathing, by Dr Qing Li (book, 2018)

2) Prescribing Green Space, by nhsforest.org (pamphlet PDF)

3) Nature Makes You Better,by National Geographic(article, Feb 2019)

Blooming Spring

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As if taken somewhat by surprise, trees nationwide are jumping into colour. The UK has already been beset by a blaze of cherry blossoms, and by April we can expect to see our forests flooded with bluebells.

In cultures worldwide, spring is recognised as a time of life, rebirth and a return to nature. Every spring, thousands of people flock to green spaces to get a little bit closer to nature when it’s at its finest and in this article, we explain some of the reasoning behind the phenomenon.

Flowers Make Us Happy

If you have ever received or gifted a bouquet of flowers, then you will have noticed the positive effect that they have on individuals. They are popular gifts for Mothers’ Day, are usually present during Harvest Festivals and are essential at most weddings. No matter who you are, flowers will likely feature in your life at some point, but perhaps they should be even more prevalent?

The Science Behind the Beauty

Human happiness can be boiled down to some simple ingredients: dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. These three ingredients are chemicals that are triggered in your brain by certain stimuli. Each chemical has many possible triggers that can vary for different people, such as different foods, and some people have less dopamine in their bodies to draw from than others.

Evolution

Flowers trigger the release of these happy chemicals in our brains partially because of their vibrant colours. Our brains have evolved to perceive bright colours as a symbol of growth and spring, and in humanity’s infancy, the season of spring was concurrent with the return of food and growth.

This led to flowers and their bright colours becoming synonymous with healthy times for early humanity. It signalled vital nutrition after a difficult winter, and this would fill anyone with happiness. Over generations, our brains came to automatically associate these bright colours with food, health and happiness.

In today’s world where food and bright colours are easy to come by all year round, the coming of spring doesn’t have quite the same grandeur that it once held for our ancestors. Nonetheless, we can all continue to benefit from our brain’s evolutionary reaction to flowers.

Social Etiquette

It’s not just evolution that teaches us to take joy from flowers; current social rules and etiquettes imbue flowers with meaning beyond their physical beauty. For example, in some friendships it may be a staple to bring flowers during a house visit. The exchanging of fresh flowers in this situation displays respect and gratitude nature of friendships.

There are plenty of other circumstances where gifting flowers may take on a new meaning. While our brains react positively to bright colours in general, receiving flowers of particular colours can signal different meanings in different cultures.

Red flowers are often seen as a symbol of romantic interest, which when given spontaneously or during events like Valentine’s day can have a huge positive effect on the receiver’s mood.

For Mothers’ day, a popular choice of bouquet would include pinks or yellows. Yellow is often seen as a colour of happiness and friendship making it a perfectly suitable choice for a Mothers’ Day arrangement. Pink is also a good choice because it suggests friendship but is also linked with themes of nostalgia and familial bonds.

Seasonal blooms that could be incorporated into a spring bouquet include the daffodil, tulip and hyacinth. Yellows and pinks are not reserved solely for Mother’s Day; however, you may wish to gift one of these warm bouquets for a birthday or Easter celebration too. For more information regarding our beautiful bouquet service, please go to our gift bouquet page.

Don’t Worry!

There is a lot to think about if you want to create the perfect bouquet, but luckily for you, there are plenty of talented florists who can prescribe you the perfect flower arrangement after asking you a few questions relating to the receiver’s personality or hobbies.

One important thing to remember is that even if you don’t know your gerbera from your carnation, the simple act of sharing flowers with a friend or loved one is going to improve their mood. In a study done by the University of New Jersey, it was found that people who receive flowers feel less depressed, anxious or agitated after receiving flowers. They could even result in increased contact between family and friends, suggesting that the presence of flowers can even improve social skills.

Given the positive effects that bringing nature into our lives can have, it is important to spread the word – and plants – further. Biophilia is humanity’s innate love of plants, and it is a rising trend to bring more plants and flowers into our everyday lives.

This Spring, we will be supplying some of our clients with our seasonal window boxes which will consist of flowers such as the dainty snowdrop, brilliant hyacinth and cheery crocus. Don’t wait to improve your business’ kerb appeal with window boxes in the city.

You could also be improving your city’s greenery by petitioning for more green spaces in your city, putting office plants and flowers in your business premises to improve staff morale and output, or it could be as simple as remembering to give your friend a bouquet next time you visit.

Christmas Infographic! Corporate Party Planning

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Planning the perfect corporate Christmas party can be extremely gratifying, but we also recognise that any business get-together comes with its trials and tribulations. Fortunately, we understand the importance of a professional party and are here to offer our assistance with a beautiful new infographic:

Corporate Christmas Party Infographic

As can be expected, British offices vary in how they celebrate the festive period, so we’ve gathered some facts for you to enjoy here:

86% of organisations will host a Christmas Party!
70% of organisations offer flexible hours during the festive period
55% of employers give their staff gifts
60% of employers don’t ask their teams how they want to celebrate!
51% of organisations share end-of-year results
Above facts sourced from  Perkbox.

Of the offices that do host Christmas parties…

25% are expecting an all-expenses paid for occasion
14% will have their event subsidised
15% will receive a Christmas bonus
10% will receive a gift
28% thought their employer could do more for the company at Christmas
Above facts sourced from  Onrec.

Also, did you know that Birmingham has the highest Christmas party expenditures per employee on average? A total of £37.06 per employee, compared to Exeter’s £8.76 at the bottom of the table, although other studies place London at the height of Christmas spending, so it all depends who you ask.

In the end, though, it all totals to around £1bn spent nationally by businesses celebrating the festive season.

We hope our infographic has helped you to plan an amazing Christmas this year, but don’t forget to order your  Office Christmas Tree  with us soon!

Biophilia & other Reasons to Have Plants in the Workplace

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If you’ve been reading about the buzzword Biophilia but have yet to understand what the buzz is about, then we’ve made a helpful infographic for you, designed to show you the amazing relationships that can occur between workers and plants in the modern office.

Plants truly are amazing. If you’re looking to improve your office space with some smart greenery, why not enhance your office with some office plants. Impress your workers and guests with an outstanding boardroom, ensure that they remember you as an innovative and forward-thinking company by transforming your spaces into greener, healthier, places to enjoy working in.

And if you’re interested in reading more about the joys of biophilia and the many benefits of plants, we have plenty of blogs to keep you up-to-date on the latest hints, tips and news:

–          Biophilia – What is It and Why is it Important

–          Indoor Air Quality: Facts & How to Improve

–          The Best Plants for Your Office Environment

–          Biophilic Design in the Workplace

The Importance of Holding Social Events

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Creating a thriving community and a great culture in your business can’t be done by words alone. Having a great intranet and communicating by email is important, but nothing is more important than human relationships and the feeling of belonging and socialising. In this article, we uncover the secrets behind holding a social event that your people will love to attend, and why it is a worthwhile thing to do.

Why You Should Be Socialising

There are a few ways to reduce stress in the office, such as filling your space with beautiful office plants, but you should know that holding the occasional social event can also go a long way towards reducing tensions in your office environment. The Guardian even suggests that social events in the workplace could be vital to finding  happiness at work, they include the following quote by  Geoff Pearce  as the parting message of their article:

“HR teams can have a huge impact on company culture and employee satisfaction. Team-building days, social events and ensuring a pleasant office environment – all are vital to happiness at work and creating a community spirit among colleagues.”

We can help you to create a pleasant office environment through our plant design service and also with office flowers, but the rest largely depends on you and your HR team. Our blog is here to help you with hints and tips on how to secure a strong community to promote higher staff retention and engagement.

We’ve already written blogs on world health and what workers really want, but this blog is dedicated to helping you host some amazing social events that have positive effects for both physical and mental health.

 

BBQ

We aren’t strangers to hosting fabulous social events and BBQ season is a shared favourite amongst our employees. A good BBQ is one that can cater to all your staff’s dietary needs, which means including Quorn burgers as well as regular beef. Making each and every one of your staff feel cared for is extremely important when hosting a social event, otherwise, you may end up highlighting the differences between your staff rather than successfully bringing them together.

BBQ’s are best when the weather is fine and everyone can relax outdoors, being weather dependent, it’s a good idea to name a week in which you are planning to host the BBQ and take the first good day that you come across. Hosting the BBQ during an extended lunch in working hours is a great idea for ensuring a good turn-out.

Here are some of our staff enjoying our delicious BBQ event:

Forest Bathing

The less intimidating version of an office hike, forest bathing is a promising new trend that seeks to reduce stress and tension in individuals by bringing them closer to nature. It is a relaxing activity that can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, as well as allowing people time to breathe healthy fresh air.

This activity is simple enough, just take your office to a nearby green area and encourage everyone to wander off in whichever route strikes their fancy. The aim is to enjoy exploring nature, as well as taking some time to reflect on your emotional well-being. Give your employees a time to be back by and regroup at the end of the day to discuss how forest bathing helped them to focus and improve their energy levels.

Lunch and Learns

Looking for a joint experience with added benefits? Then you may consider hosting a lunch and learn event. These socials are made to enhance your employee’s wider knowledge of your company or industry through presentations given by staff or industry experts. They can be a good opportunity to network too if you plan in time for a buffet lunch and some informal conversations after the event. If you want to learn more about how to set up an effective  Lunch and Learn,  you can read more about it on our blog.

 

Extra Ideas

Generally, getting your staff outside is one of the best things you can do, especially if the weather is warm. Why not go for a double whammy with some charity fund-raising? A sponsored run or a softball game? Some other activities that can help your staff to connect with one another in the fresh air include setting up an office picnic, or how about a round of crazy golf or croquet? If an adventure sounds good to you or you think it would appeal to the colleagues of your business, then some other outdoor activities that may interest you are kayaking and zorbing. If the weather is bad, then you can use Escape Rooms as an alternative to your outdoor plans – Escape Rooms are a great way to test your co-workers’ deduction skills and keep them on their toes!

Last year, Forbes created an article about office environments which stated that ‘strong social connections make people happier and physically healthier, which can translate into work performance’. Combine a few effective socials with a beautiful office refurbishment and you might find that your investments in your team sees a return in future output. If you have any questions regarding improving your  office environments with plants, please contact us. For any other hints and tips regarding office life, check back here for future blogs and articles.

The Science Behind How Flowers Make Us Feel

 

Do you feel joy when you are surrounded by flowers and plants? That’s normal! There have been plenty of studies exploring how and why flowers make us feel happy, so we’ve collated some of these studies into this article for your benefit. These findings may also be important for your workplace, especially if you work in hospitality.

10 Months of Research

ten-month study, titled An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers (2005), considered participants’ behavioural and emotional responses to receiving flowers. Unsurprisingly, the results confirmed that flowers are great for moderating moods. In all age groups, participants were happy to receive the flowers, and this didn’t only occur for the initial gift-giving; the study also recorded that the participants were less depressed or anxious for three days afterwards, too.

Let’s think about the effects that this could have on the hospitality industry; keeping flowers present in lobby areas will help to reduce visitor’s stresses if the above research is to be believed. This can be useful in hospitals and hotels alike.

Hospitals

Health care sector providers that allow flowers help to bring peace and calm to their visitors, many of whom will be struggling with high levels of stress. Whilst we don’t expect that the presence of flowers can completely negate the worries that accompany an illness, flowers may make long periods in waiting rooms a little more bearable and accommodating on a subconscious level.

Flowers are considered a luxury when given as gifts, but their inherent therapeutic qualities suggest that they should be a necessity for comfort in stressful environments.

Hotels

Hotel lobbies also benefit from the natural reassurance provided by flowers. A visitor’s arrival at a hotel should be stress-free and happy, and the presence of flowers enhances both of these feelings, and also improves the perception of value and luxury.

Keeping flowers on the main desk may help with handling any difficulties the guest is experiencing by creating a calming atmosphere. As Dr Haviland-Jones lead researcher of this study, stated:

“Flowers bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room. They make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.’

At Planteria we offer posy flower arrangements and flowers for restaurants to help make your hotel, bar, or restaurant the best it can be. If you would like more tips on creating the best hotel environments, please read our 4 Key Design Tactics for Hotels and Hospitality.

 

Offices

Another place where managers should consider hospitality is in their offices; your staff need some care and attention too! An office decorated with natural elements (also known as biophilic design) is more likely to be a healthier and happier office. Understandably, this also correlates with higher levels of productivity which you can read about in our blog: plants in the office make you 15% more productive. If you’re interested in flowers for offices, please get in touch with us.

More Research…

Dr Hamilton-Jones’ study with Rutgers University also found that 88% of people reported that the act of giving the flowers themselves also made them feel happier. This means that flowers have positive effects for all those involved.

By this notion, flowers make the perfect gift solutions with benefits for the giver and the receiver, what’s more you can’t get the wrong size, or offend anyone by getting an inappropriate gift (wine for someone you did not know was tee-total for example). We supply gift bouquets , to make it simple and straightforward to say thank you, happy birthday, seasons greetings or for any other occasion you can think of. In the Rutgers University study, it was found that participants who received flowers were more likely to answer positively to social support questions (contacting people, talking intimately).

Flowers and Human Evolution

One of the ideas explored by Dr Hamilton-Jones is the idea that flowers have evolved to be seen as rewarding by humans to help with their own survival:

 “Just as other plants have evolved to induce varying behavioural responses in a wide variety of species leading to the dispersal or propagation of the plants.

This may be a side-effect, however. Birds and bees are animals which are both very important for the survival of many plants and flowers in the wild, and both species see in colour vision. This means that flowers with bright colours are more likely to stand out to birds and bees, thus ensuring their propagation.

Humans can also see in colour which makes flowers very attractive to us, too. This may mean that our enjoyment of flowers is a result of our shared colour-vision with birds and bees. On the other hand, it is also speculated that the bright colours of blooms signal bountiful harvests, which humans are also likely to take enjoyment from. The two factors could have become historically linked, and now trigger an evolutionary response of happiness in humans worldwide upon receiving flowers.

Give A Bouquet this Christmas

Flowers and natural bright colours can be hard to find during the winter, which is why giving the gift of flowers will be especially effective during the Christmas period. You may even want to gift some to yourself to reward your own efforts over the past year. We can supply you with beautiful gift bouquets, colleagues, family, or for your yourself, as well as regular weekly flowers for your office space.

We know that flowers have so much to offer businesses, offices, hotels and clinics, and we can help deliver their benefits to your location. Our professionally trained florists work magic with fresh flowers to ensure you are delighted.  Get in touch so we can help you too.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US

 

CLICK HERE TO FIND GIFT BOUQUETS