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!

A herd of red deer in a field, there is a tree in the background and a stag is looking up towards the camera

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.

Two young girls cuddling and looking happy infront of rock wall and fallen leaves in a national park

 

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.

hands holidng ipad showing graphs

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.

Woman happily posing for camera holding fallen autumn leaves in what looks like a national park

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.

a group of people around meeting table looking happy, there are 3 women and two men, the women and one of the men are looking at the second man who has his side to the camera

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.

Core Values Demonstrated with a Smile

Smart New Uniforms Bring a Smile

At Planteria Group we are proud of our core values and our big smiles which drive our approach to providing you with reliable quality service and the most stunning planting & floristry services you’ll find in the UK. We believe that with great values comes great service.

As a family-run business for the past 40 years we hold our values close to our hearts, and believe that this is one (very important) thing that makes us stand above other companies out there. Our values embody our personality and our dedication to service whilst shaping every aspect of our business to ensure we always give our best.

 

Outlined below are our principle values:

– Integrity

– Dedicated to Care

– Always Smart

– Committed to Excellence

– Relentless to Improve

 

Integrity – Our business was founded on integrity from day one and we continue to do what is right, acting responsibly and always following through on our commitments. We are honest and hard-working and will always work to achieve the high standards you have come to expect.

Dedicated to Care – we are in the business of nurturing and nothing feels better than the sense of achievement that comes with a job well done. There’s nothing we can’t handle and we thrive on attention to detail from the initial consultation through to the design process, planting and after-care maintenance. Nurturing plants, flowers and clients since 1977 – that’s something we are quite proud to announce!

Always Smart – Image isn’t everything but it is a big part of good business and it goes a long way in promoting loyalty & professionalism. Whether you visit us at our head office or if you use our services and view the results you will find us smart, tidy, professional and efficient.

Committed to Excellence – Anything less is not an option. We won’t settle for second-best and nor should you. We believe a job is only worth doing if it is done properly and professionally. All of our staff receive rigorous training and everyone at Planteria Group is an expert in their own field giving you the best possible experience.

Relentless to Improve – We are constantly challenging our designers and pushing boundaries above and beyond industry standards, driving innovation, design and execution of our services. We continue to explore and innovate using new concepts and technologies bringing you the best possible results.

Whether you’re a new client or an existing client (or perhaps a future client) we are confident that you will love our services and the benefits they bring to your business.

If you’d like further information about what we can do for your business or workspace, please contact us or request a FREE QUOTE online.

Planteria Group provides stunning planting & floristry for businesses & offices since 1977. Not only attractive to the eyes but other health benefits of greening your space include cleaner air, increased productivity & creativity as well as reducing stress & sickness creating an overall happier place to be. Interior & Exterior planting & flower designs available.

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 Greening of London (with the help of BID’s)

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A Business Improvement District (BID) is a not-for-profit collective of local businesses who have come together to help improve their immediate area. There are currently 47 BIDs in London, each of whom create, develop and fund projects that benefit local business and the community.

In 2008 ‘The London Plan’ the Mayor’s spatial development plan for London, introduced a new concept, ‘Green Infrastructure’ or GI including; green walls, living walls, roof gardens, rain gardens and ‘parklets’.

Increasing green infrastructure brings with it may benefits; Cooling the built environment and reducing energy consumption, improving air quality, improving health for residents, increasing wellbeing, enhancing biodiversity and creating attractive places where people want to be.

In 2015 Boris Johnson launched a new and more specific initiative called the “Wild West End” designed to link up Regent’s Park and St James’s Park with green ‘stepping stones’ to encourage more birds, bats and insects to the built-up busy streets. This initiative was handed over to the local BIDs. A variety of installations have since been put in place including green roofs, planters, beehives and bird and bat boxes to provide a permanent habitat for London’s wildlife. Adding wildflowers including oxeye daisy, birdsfoot trefoil, and field scabious attract butterflies and bees and create more natural habitats to provide foraging opportunities for robins, goldfinch and other species.

The London Wildlife Trust said it was a “fabulous step” towards attracting nature to the heart of the capital, and demonstrating “how wildlife can flourish amidst the hustle and bustle of the city centre”.

Boris Johnson said the initiative could transform the city for thousands of residents, workers and tourists. “London’s population is at an all-time high, so while we need to build new homes and improve transport infrastructure, we also need better quality green spaces,” he said in a statement. “There is absolutely no doubt that parks and green spaces in urban areas improve people’s wellbeing and quality of life.”

The widespread public benefits of the greening of public infrastructure mean that the delivery of GI has previously been seen as the role of the public sector and the challenge has been to make the case for businesses to invest.

Evaluation of Victoria BIDs Cleaning and Greening programme suggests that businesses increasingly recognise the value of Green Infrastructure in;

Attracting Customers – guiding customers to a retail space and making locations more inviting.

Maximising Spend – increasing the amount of time a customer spends browsing.

Motivating Staff – and retaining them.

Adding Value – working with suppliers and building relationships in the locality, giving back to the wider community.

Looking to the future, the ‘London Green Infrastructure Plan 2050’ projects ahead to our needs for the coming decades, it calculates that the capital will need the equivalent of 13,000 football pitches of new green cover by the middle of this century. These findings prove that green infrastructure projects are much more than nice-to-have and certainly not an afterthought. Green infrastructure is about conservation as much as it is about aesthetics. The future of land and property management will be more proactive and less reactive and better integrated with efforts to manage growth and development.

FM Manager or Eco Warrior? We can help you with a ‘GI’ project; Green roof, green / living wall, eco-friendly planting, roof gardens and more. Contact us today.

What Workers Really Want

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More than simply working to survive, modern workers in developed nations desire to be able to take pride in their work, make a meaningful contribution, and gain respect from their peers. The journey towards achieving respect in the workplace is a very personal one, but you can help your workers to achieve their career goals by providing them with an office that promotes their mental well-being.

Luckily for business owners looking to raise company morale, small easy-to-do things can make a big impact. This means that improving the mood of your workers can be as simple as offering free coffee, vouchers, office plants, or thoughtful useful gift items. This article will address some ideas which you can use in your company to help keep your workers happy, healthy and support them to achieve to the best of their ability.

 

Perks at Work

Place yourself in the shoes of your employees and ask yourself what kind of working environment you are promoting. What does their average day look like and how could you improve that? These are the kinds of questions that top companies are asking themselves when they’re looking to fix their offices. Google, for example, doesn’t hold back when it comes to ensuring its workforce are well-fed, hydrated and healthy; they provide free breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as free coffee to keep the caffeine flowing. Alongside these very ingestible perks, Google recognises the negative effects that stress can have on work-output, so they also offer on-site massages.

Your company might not have the resources to feed all its workers every day of the week, but you can apply a similar mentality when it comes to choosing which perks you should prioritise.

 

Office Pets

Office pets don’t necessarily mean buying an animal for the express purpose of having it inhabit the office. Chances are, plenty of your staff have pets of their own; asking them to bring their pets to work occasionally will come completely free of charge for your business.

small dog on top of toilet

There are plenty of benefits to bringing staff pets to work. Dogs and cats are well known for reducing stress, so this could be a cheaper alternative to Google’s on-site masseurs. On the other hand, there’s no telling how well-trained the pet is until they’re already in your office; no-one wants dog dirt on the office carpet!

 

Office Plants

A perk that shares qualities with office pets but won’t leave poo on your floor is the office plant. As well as adding a splash of colour to what might be a monotonous black and white office environment, office plants are also known for reducing stress and boosting health by improving air quality, and helping to connect your people to nature (known as biophilia).

You can use plants to decorate your office; to fill space softening the corporate image and blank white walls, to provide privacy or break up large open plan spaces, and to improve the acoustics, which works in a similar way to using soft furnishings. Plants are living organisms, so it’s important to choose a plant that suits your office. Perhaps start with easy, low-maintenance plants to see what your office can handle taking care of in the beginning.

plants in hanging baskets in office

If you choose to have plants placed around the office at intervals, you can connect your workers by establishing a watering rota so that each of your employees is sure to appreciate the greenery and reap the benefits of interacting with nature during office time. Alternatively, you can gift each desk with an individual plant of its own to promote feelings of individuality and creativity. Planteria offer a variety of plants for your office needs, and offer a free design and quote service, plus aftercare so that all the watering and pruning is taken care of by the experts.

 

Fitness

Another way to reduce absenteeism in the workplace is to encourage fitness training among your employees. Fitter employees will likely be healthier employees with stronger immune systems. You can encourage this by offering your workers vouchers for the local gym, or you can go an extra step and encourage in-office yoga meetings which will have the added effect of bringing your workforce closer together by exercising as a group.

two ladies doing yoga on blue mats

Yoga  is a particularly useful exercise as it encourages participants to relax and clear their minds, allowing your workforce to be able to concentrate clearly on whatever tasks follow their yoga practice, eliminating any worries and stresses experienced during the morning routines.

 

Office Bar Friday

Show your workforce that you also get that Friday feeling, and perhaps treat them (and yourself) to something special when Friday rolls around. The appearance of an office bar during Friday’s final working hours will encourage your workforce to socialise, which will subsequently cultivate a stronger bond between your workers, which will increase productivity. Far from being just another cog in the corporate machine, you’re showing your workers that being a team is important, and by providing the drinks, you’re showing them praise for the week’s efforts.

man and woman smelling wine

There are lots of ways to increase productivity and mental-wellbeing in your office, not to mention that providing office perks means that your employees are more likely to stay with your company, rather than job hopping. Indeed, the average Brit will change employer every five years on average, according to the BBC. If you want to cultivate a strong workforce that’s going to stick around, it’s vital that you think about more than your workers’ needs; you should also address what makes them happy and content. Think office food, office pets, office fitness, office parties and office plants.

tall three tiered plants in planter

What is Your ‘Green Leadership Style’?

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Are you an Eco Warrior, a Sustainability Superstar or a Green Hero?

We take a light-hearted look at this serious topic. Do you recognise your ‘Green Leadership Style’ and some of your challenges?

We also offer some practical suggestions to help you get your team on-board and make some green improvements around the office.

A recent, international study conducted by Unilever, revealed a third of consumers (33%) are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. And an estimated €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.

The study asked 20,000 adults from five countries how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home. Crucially, it then mapped their claims against real purchase decisions, giving a more accurate picture than ever of what people are actually buying – and why.

Strong emotions and opinions on the subject should be hardly surprising when you consider the vast amount of media attention that the problem of plastics in our oceans, and rubbish going to landfill, along with climate change accelerations. Are we all looking to someone else for the answers or are we creating the solution?

You’re likely to be the person in your workplace who is tasked with responsibility for steering your business into more environmentally friendly waters.

Which is Your ‘Green Leadership Style’?

“The Eco Warrior “

The Eco Warrior is most likely to be found working for a Tech-firm, in the Not for Profit sector, or in a company that is already integrated with a Green lifestyle. You are fully supported by your company who have embraced the plants you have added to all the indoor areas. Leading by example you will cycle, walk, or use public transport on your commute to the office. A true Eco Warrior will be on a personal zero to waste journey, having ditched shampoo in a bottle in favour of a bar variety. Woe betide any co-worker who is spotted with a single use plastic Frappuccino cup or a plastic straw! You lead by example and have a fervent conviction that we should all vote with our wallets and switch to greener and more ethical brands.

 

“The Sustainability Superstar”

You’re probably working for a large Multi-National with responsibility for ensuring sustainability across all areas of your business, which has already recognised the importance of this subject enough to appoint you to focus full-time on it. You are likely to review the compliance and green credentials of suppliers and potential business partners to ensure that there’s no ‘green-wash’ going on. This means reviewing documents and verifying details with a magnifying glass. You spend your spare moments reviewing news letters  from http://sustainabilitypractitioners.org even when you wish you were strolling around Hyde Park or doing some ‘Forest bathing’ instead. Passionate about the importance of your role to create impact and effect positive changes, your natural business acumen and ability to influence the board, innovate and suggest changes that will also boost the bottom line, mean you really deserve a superhero cape to wear to the office.

 

“The Green Hero”

Being environmentally aware and ethical is ingrained in your psyche, and comes naturally to you. Your role as office manager or facilities manager is one of juggling many balls, and spinning plates, keeping the whole place running smoothly. However, yours is a challenging task as you are often battling against colleagues who don’t share the same mind-set, or are perhaps just not as ‘enlightened’ as you. You despair of the amount of paper used in the printer for tasks which frankly need not be printed at all. Not to mention the take-out wrappings, and cups which you keep finding in the waste bins rather than the recycling bins you have provided. Sometimes you wonder if you are sounding more like a nagging parent than a departmental manager. As Kermit the frog famously said, “It’s not easy being Green”, and some of your colleagues, it seems, are determined to prove him right. It takes time for people to adopt new habits. But you are on a mission to ensure that they do. Take it from us, you’re the one who really deserves a medal.

Green books stacked with ecological natural efficient renewable and sustainable on each book end

7 Easy Top Tips For Being Greener in The Office

Top tip 1: Cutting Back on Consumption – In the Kitchen

Ditch the coffee shop runs, or the coffee pod machine and most certainly get your colleagues out of the habit of buying single use plastic bottles of drink… and invest in a proper coffee machine or water  filter.  https://www.liquidline.co.uk/ check out the huge range from Liquidline and get a free quote or trial. If you just can’t quit your coffee shop habit then at least use a reusable coffee cup. Did you know that Starbucks reward customers who get into the recycling habit with a discount on every drink bought? Giving them a 25p discount every single time they bring in their own cup.

 

Top tip 2: Cups and glasses over plastic and paper

Use reusable water bottles and mugs at work.

 

Top tip 3: Prep Ahead

Save money and the planet by packing your lunch ahead of time with reusable containers. You might find that you make healthier, lower calorie choices this way too!

 

Top tip 4: Bring nature indoors

Did you know that having plants in your indoor environment can help clean the airoffset VOCs and CO2 emissions, and improve your mood?

Biophilia is the term for our love of nature and living things, we are genetically pre-disposed to feeling uplifted and ‘connected’ when we are exposed to natural elements. Including biophilic elements, like plants, in your office environment increase positive feelings, aid concentration and subconsciously connect you to nature and the wider world.

Bonus: plants look great and are a low-cost way to add contemporary decoration for any desk. You can get a FREE QUOTE for office plants here.

 

Top tip 5: Make Greener Office-Wear Choices

If you wear shirts to the office choose ones made of natural cotton or even better organic cotton, as synthetic fibres wash into our oceans adding to the plastic contamination. Do a label check before buying new clothes and avoid clothes that need to be dry cleaned. If it really needs dry cleaning seek out your local “green” dry cleaner. Look for your local Johnson Cleaners… Branch search 

 

Top tip 6 : Switch to non-toxic cleaning products

https://methodproducts.co.uk/  Method is just one of the many alternatives in ethical brands.

 

Top tip 7 : Digital Media

Opt for online media rather than paper version, including magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and other publications.

 

Why not email this list to your colleagues?!

Window Boxes in the City

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You may have heard the expression – ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. This is certainly true. Research indicates that impressions are formed very quickly, sometimes in as little as a second, and once formed are hard to change. When you think about your brand identity, what does your location and office or premises say about your business?

Does your building match your online profile and digital branding?

The first thing a prospective employee sees when they approach your company is the outside of the building, and this crucial first glance will tell them everything they need to know about whether they want to spend the majority of their week in your offices. Just like a home has a better chance of selling if the outside looks appealing, so too will your business attract more custom if the outside is aesthetically pleasing.

The attractiveness of a property and its surroundings when viewed from the street is known as its kerb appeal. Kerb appeal is a well-known term in the context of selling a house but it’s important for any property to maintain a good kerb appeal if it wants to draw positive attention.

Window boxes are the ultimate statement for creating some kerb appeal. These simple additions can give a company that perfect touch that makes the façade of the building one that passers-by will certainly give a second glance.

window box plants white and green

 

A Touch of Colour

Brightly coloured flowers and lush greenery will make a building’s windows pop, especially in the middle of a drab, city centre. In a street where other buildings are similar and there is a lack of nature, window boxes will mark out a building as a cut above the others, with a touch of luxury and class.

Window boxes can keep things interesting and can brighten up any building. You could even coordinate your window box to match any colours already present on the outside of the building. If the door is painted red, for example, then a window box featuring red flowers will coordinate and add impact to really make a statement.

pink and purple window box flowers

 

A Company that Cares

Windows boxes aren’t just there to look great – although they really do – their presence alone speak volumes about your company. Flowers and plants show that you care about your image and your clients. Window boxes are not just a pretty decoration that you plant and leave, they require care and attention, and that care and attention gives the perception of a company that cares for and is attentive to its clients.

 

Seasonal Window Boxes

Window boxes provide a great opportunity to add interest throughout the year and ring the changes. Re-planting with seasonal plants, will really give that wow-factor and ensure that your window boxes and building look stunning all year.

Take advantage of the warmer spring months by adding a splash of bright colour and luxurious scent with spring bulbs. Daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, provide dazzling colours that will create an eye-catching window box and radiate those spring vibes. Lavenders are also a great choice with the added benefit that they attract bees and butterflies.

For a divine scent when you open the windows, consider rosemary or pinks: beautiful tiny carnation like flowers with a wonderful aroma. Summer sees geraniums and fuchsias added into the mix in bright pinks, reds and crisp white.

Window boxes do not need to be retired when autumn and winter come along. Swap your summer plants for some cyclamen, violas, trailing ivy, flowering heathers or winter flowering pansies to keep the window boxes blooming, looking beautiful and seasonal whatever the time of year.

white and green window box flowers and plants

At Planteria Group, we can do it all for you. We can provide you with exquisite window boxes and bedding plant changes that complement each other. If you would like to find out more about any of our services, do not hesitate to contact us, and get a free quote today.lo

How to Reduce Work Related Stress

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April is national “Stress Awareness Month” and as we take a look at the issue of stress in the workplace, we’re pleased to offer some suggestions for making things better for you and your colleagues.

Stress is dubbed “the health epidemic of the 21st-century” according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). “Health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a positive state of complete physical, mental and social well-being (WHO, 1986), a healthy working environment is one in which there is not only absence of harmful conditions but an abundance of health promoting ones”.

Clinical research shows that stress is an underlying factor in at least 70% of all visits to GPs. And stress can lead to many chronic diseases including increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, obesity, addiction, anxiety and depression.

So why does stress make us sick? Under conditions of prolonged periods of stress the body’s nervous system is put under pressure and goes into fight or flight mode, this means the sympathetic system is highly engaged and the parasympathetic system is suppressed disrupting our natural balance, increasing levels of hormones including; glucocorticoids and prolactin, cortisol levels increase and insulin levels can decrease. This imbalance creates the health issues we have mentioned above.

 

What Causes Stress In the Workplace?

Stress can occur in a range of circumstances; having no control over workload and not receiving enough support, for example.

Stress in response to demands which are not matched by abilities or knowledge is an issue. In this case managers need to be open to listening to colleagues, seeking to understand the situation and provide the support and training needed.

Job content including monotony, under-stimulation, carrying out seemingly meaningless tasks. Workload and pace including having too much or too little to do, or constant time pressure, can all cause stress.

Lack of development opportunities, job insecurity, bullying and harassment, poor leadership and communication are all other examples of stress inducing situations in the workplace.

 

Making Changes For The Better

A healthy lifestyle including exercise and finding healthy ways to unwind such as, spending time outdoors in nature, practising yoga and meditation are all coping strategies to make people feel more in control. Studies have shown that spending time in nature restores mental energy.

Allowing for flexibility of working schedules where practicably possible demonstrates trust and allows employees to manage their own time better, this has been proven to be good for morale.

Environmental factors and B Biophilic Elements can make a big impact too.  A worker’s surroundings can have a significant effect on their productivity and overall job satisfaction both of which factor into stress levels. Organisations which invest in attractive offices, with bright or calming colour schemes, plants and artwork, provide happier places to work.  The addition of biophilic elements, such as plants, natural materials and biomorphic design, provide a more calming and productive experience at work (read more about Biophilia, and why bringing nature to work can improve health & wellbeing).

“Mental fatigue” that feeling of brain fog, inability to concentrate or having racing thoughts can be greatly alleviated by exposure to restorative environments, which research has found, generally means the great outdoors. One study found that people’s mental energy bounced back even when they just looked at pictures of nature. (Pictures of city scenes had no such effect).

Providing space where workers can get away from their desk for a break even for a short time, can help boost productivity for the rest of the workday.

Communication is also a critical issue for the handling of stress and stress related absence. Encouraging an open and transparent dialogue, offering help and support, and communicating clearly about work-related issues without fear of reprisals or stigma, creates a great culture within a company.

See other Tips to Boost Workplace Wellness

 

Sources: 

uk.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature

www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/stressatwp/en

www.sbnonline.com/article/decrease-workplace-stress

scitechconnect.elsevier.com/stress-health-epidemic-21st-century

Corporate Planting Ticks All the Boxes for Facilities Managers

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Facilities Managers have a lot on their plate! Responsible for the management of services and processes that support the core business of an organisation and tasked with using best business practice to improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and increasing productivity.

Juggling the competing needs of the end user, reactive maintenance, supplier relations and contract management are the daily norm.

So how can you make a big impact for your organisation through a small change? Something that will improve health and wellbeing, and increase productivity?

Corporate planting for the office space ticks all those boxes.

  • Improves air quality
  • Absorbs sound
  • Proven to have a positive effect on mental and physical wellbeing
  • Improves concentration and productivity
  • Increases staff satisfaction

But…Space is a premium

Maximisation of office space is a key importance. Fitting your staff and equipment in, having enough space to grow, and providing for multi-purpose areas where meetings can be held and staff can work creatively are all high on the agenda.

There are lots of creative planting solutions to help you achieve this. Planting can be used to screen an area for multi-purpose use. This is a cost effective method of creating an attractive office feature with the associated positive impacts of increasing wellbeing.

Living pictures are an impactful design feature and take up no floor space whatsoever. They look great in reception areas and client suites.

Cabinet top planting brings all the beauty and benefits of living plants, but takes up no floor space and keeps a paperless office, well… paperless! So, no untidy piles of printer paper, files and brochures which get left laying on cabinet tops!

What do facilities managers want from their suppliers?

Whether a company chooses to outsource, or takes care of their requirements in-house their expectations of their suppliers is the same:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Competitive pricing of services
  • A straightforward on-line invoicing process
  • A National Service: One company, one contact, one central reporting system, one standard for all their locations across the country.
  • Instant Reporting: a service that is transparent and instant – key for multi-site managers providing unprecedented operational visibility of service to help you manage SLA’s
  • A quick response and solution if anything goes wrong

Over the past 39 years we’ve worked with a lot of Facilities Managers and Facilities Management Companies and we’ve gained a deep understanding and appreciation for what you do.

Get in touch with us here:

Plants In The Office Make You 15% More Productive

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Every business is looking for the ‘slight edge’ to give them a competitive advantage. But how about if I told you that you could become 15 % more productive by doing one small, low-cost thing?

What if I also told you that doing the same thing would make your employees happier and more creative too? Would you put it into action immediately?

It’s true, and it’s backed up by plenty of research and science.

Dr Craig Knight from Exeter University and his fellow psychologists, who have been studying the issue for 10 years, concluded that employees were 15% more productive when “lean” workplaces were filled with just a few houseplants, as employees who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers.

The study says that offices devoid of natural elements and distractions are “the most toxic space” you can put a human into and reports that workers perform better when household plants are added to workplaces.

Collaborating with academics from four universities in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands, Knight said he had wondered for years why the fashion for spartan offices has been so dominant in the business world, and the obvious benefits of office plants ignored. “If you put an ant into a ‘lean’ jam jar, or a gorilla in a zoo into a ‘lean’ cage – they’re miserable beasties,” he said. People in “lean” offices are no different, he added.

Essentially planting in the workplace makes you more productive because it connects you back to nature, this innate desire, which is hardwired into our DNA is called Biophilia. If you take a human out of ‘nature’ and put them in a clinical, space devoid of natural elements and colour and you will increase stress and anxiety levels.

Researchers extensively studied workplaces over an 18 month period, including a call centre in the Netherlands and a large City auditor in London to see how even a small number of plants could rapidly improve performance.

The City auditors, which Knight declined to name, had spent “a lot of money” on their office, he said. “They had very expensive desks … banners that were just to do with the company … it was a beautifully sparse environment.”

Yet when plants were brought into the offices (one plant per square metre), employee performance on memory retention and other basic tests improved substantially.

“What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk. If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better,” Knight said.

He hopes the project, the first of its kind carried out in functioning offices, will bury the lean office practice for which he said there was no scientific support.

Prof Alex Haslam, from the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, who co-authored the study, added: “The ‘lean’ philosophy has been influential across a wide range of organisational domains. Our research questions this widespread conviction that less is more. Sometimes less is just less.

Research source:

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2014-30837-001/

10 Tips for Workplace Wellness

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Employee Wellbeing

How do you measure the happiness and wellbeing of your employees? Do you know how your staff are really feeling when they’re in the office and how they feel after leaving work?

In today’s fast-paced, technology-fueled, budget-conscious offices it’s no wonder that employees are feeling the stresses and pressures of our modern workplace more than ever before. That’s why as a business you value your employees as your most important assets and treat them accordingly. After all, a happy workplace is a productive and successful workplace and your investment in your employee’s wellbeing will reap rewards for everyone.

Boosting happiness, morale and productivity in the workplace can be easy, fun, and you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to make some simple changes with a big impact. We’ve chosen 10 of our favourite suggestions below to help you create a modern workplace with perks that staff will enjoy.

10 Tips to Improve Workplace Wellness & Employee Wellbeing:

1) Provide healthy snacks and drinks in the office and encourage employees to eat their lunch in a communal area or outdoors rather than sitting at their desk.

Healthy snacks are far better than sugar-fueled nibbles which can often lead to employees feeling sluggish and less productive in the afternoon, so be sure to have a few healthy snacks on hand, such as fruit. Similarly, lunch breaks are important and even 20 minutes away from the computer screen will refresh tired eyes and increase productivity for the rest of the day.

2) Encourage employees to be active during the work-week. You might consider offering a weekly lunchtime yoga class or free gym memberships, giving employee incentives to focus on physical fitness and the impact this has to overall health and wellbeing.

Other ideas include promoting the cycle-to-work scheme and offering assistance with public transport or parking costs if your business is located in a larger city, to offset any costs your staff may wish to spend on fitness.

3) Make your office interior greener with plants & flowers. Biophilia is gaining popularity in the workplace because we as humans have a strong need to align ourselves with nature (learn more about biophilia in our blog post ‘Biophilia – What is it and Why is it Important?‘).

Studies have shown that plants in the workplace increase productivity, reduce stress and provide cleaner air, among other things.  From as little as £2.50 per week for a floor-standing potted plant, Planteria Group can offer planting & floristry services for your business which includes regular maintenance.  For examples of our recent work see our projects and also our case studies.

4) De-clutter your workspace and brighten your interior with a fresh coat of paint and some clever organisation. A bright and airy office will improve productivity and general well-being.

We know too well that flat surfaces often get covered with paperwork, office supplies and other random items, so consider using planters on top of shelving to give a tidier appearance. We love storage solutions which also double as interior planters (as seen in this example), and did you know we also offer attractive storage solutions for fire extinguishers which double as planting containers?

5) Provide in-office health checks and regular health screenings with a mobile doctor to promote healthy living. Consider offering this once a year.

6) Offer flexible working practices if possible, which include working from home to promote a healthy work/life balance. Promote a positive focus on family and friends and encourage your employees to use their holiday entitlement to avoid a culture of ‘presenteeism’.

Try to limit your work-related communication to office hours and to help reduce the likelihood of anxiety associated with being tied to technology 24/7.

7) Offer training programmes or workshops for employees to learn new skills or brush up on advances in technology related to their job. This maintains employee expertise and can improve productivity. This gesture also shows your employees that you value them as individuals and are  committed to excellence.

8) Promote charity fundraising and volunteer work in the community. For example, Planteria Group invite employees to vote on a chosen charity each quarter and work together as a team to raise money through bake sales, sports tournaments, raffles and more. You could also consider a team-building day out of the office where you all volunteer your working hours to support a chosen charity.

9) Create a chill-out zone free from technology. This space should be comfortable, clutter free and inviting. Encourage employees to take a 15 minute break and relax with music, a book or magazine or even a quick snooze.

10) Offer monthly massage treatments for staff by bringing in a mobile therapist. Depending on budget you could either cover the whole cost or arrange for staff to book and pay a small fee. Find companies offering this service near you with a search on Google for “office massage London” or “local massage therapists”.

Set aside some space in an unused meeting room for the therapist to set up a private mini-treatment room for the day. A focus on neck, shoulders and back will reduce stress and leave employees feeling refreshed and well looked after.

 

Above are just some of the many ways you can help improve employee wellbeing at work. Your employees will agree that these types of perks are very much appreciated and you may even consider asking for their input on other ideas that are meaningful for them.

Promoting wellness in the workplace is crucial in today’s world more than ever before. Our hope is that we’ve given you some unique suggestions for building a strong and supported working environment, benefitting employees and businesses alike.

If you’d like further suggestions, ideas or a free quote on how Planteria Group can help support wellbeing with plants and flowers for your business please contact us.

 

NHS Health At Work Recommendations:

According to a recent report published by NHS Health at Work on healthy workplaces, health and wellbeing are defined as follows:

Health relates to a person’s physical and mental condition. Wellbeing is the subjective state of being healthy, happy, contented, comfortable and satisfied with one’s quality of life. Mental wellbeing relates to a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. This includes self-esteem and the ability to socialise and cope in the face of adversity. It also includes being able to develop potential, work productively and creatively, build strong and positive relationships with others and contribute to the community.

You can view the full 20-page report here.

Other more traditional suggestions made in the NHS report (NICE’s guideline on workplace health) for supporting employee health and wellbeing include:

  • offering employees help and encouragement to build supportive relationships
  • being open and approachable to ensure employees feel free to share ideas
  • consulting regularly on daily procedures and problems
  • recognising and praising good performance
  • identifying and addressing issues and concerns and taking any action needed as soon as possible to prevent problems escalating
  • identifying sources of internal and external support
  • agreeing relevant and realistic job targets
  • carrying out stress risk assessments and developing workplace solutions to reduce this.

Sources:

Health at Work
NICE’s guideline on workplace health: management practices, recommendations 1.8.1, 1.8.2 and 1.9.1