Think about how you felt about your first day back at school after the Christmas break when you were younger. You were excited to see your friends, teachers, get back to a routine and talk for hours about your New Year’s Eve celebration and holidays with your family. The anticipation of seeing your peers and going back to what looked like a normal routine for you could cause a mix of anxiety and tension on the first days back.
Now imagine how you would feel about getting back to the office for the first time after a global pandemic? After weeks of isolation, adapting to a new routine working from home and caring for the safety and health of our loved ones, it is expected that your team might be anxious about getting back to the workplace. Caring for their mental health and creating a warm and welcoming environment is one of the most important things you can do at this moment, and we created this blog to show you how.
Re-adapting to the new normal
Important steps need to be taken to ensure that your employees are feeling safe and appreciated while re adapting to the office environment. Some things to help to make this transition smooth are:
- Welcome Email: nothing more pleasant than a friendly message from your colleagues on your first day back at work. Ask them about how they are feeling, how they are perceiving all these changes and offer help. Take the opportunity to remind them of company policies that are relevant, and use the time to update your team on the new policies that have been put in place to ensure safety and health. Now more than ever, it’s essential to do everything you can (as a team) to keep your community happy and healthy.
- Take it slow: after a global pandemic, things are expected to be different. Allow your employees a margin of time to resume their work routine. Avoid planning big and important meetings on the first week back, take the first week to make sure your team is aligned and ready to hit the ground running.
- Be flexible: employees with children might not have full access to a childcare centre at the moment or the means to get back to the office right away. Being flexible means you are taking care of your employees’ mental health, leading to higher productivity levels when they are working.
Renew your office space: the visual stimulus is one important factor when it comes to productivity and engagement in the workplace. After a few months working from home, it’s satisfying to change environments and go to a different, cleaner and greener office. A research carried out by the University of Queensland, shows that office plants can increase employee productivity by up to 15%. According to Professor Alex Haslam, co-author of the study, a greener office leaves employees more involved in their activities. The survey also found that the measure improved workers’ happiness and quality of life.
The power of indoor plants in the workspace
Besides increasing productivity, helping to maintain focus and improve work efficiency, indoor plants can help you to welcome your team after all the stress caused by a global pandemic.
Creates a happier environment
A study with 450 employees from the University of Texas, found that investing in office plants has a major influence on employee happiness. Those who had plants in the office were more satisfied with their work than those who had no plants around them. In addition, green leaves can create a sensation of calmness in the environment.
Filters the air
According to NASA researcher Bill Wolverton, modern buildings have become increasingly hermetic, reducing aeration and air circulation. This air with low circulation carries, in addition to volatile organic compounds, viruses and other elements harmful to health. One of the main functions of plants in nature is to filter in the air. Therefore, having vegetation in the work environment is to contribute to improving the quality of life of your employees.
Increases air humidity
In addition to increasing air quality (which can reduce dust by up to 20%), plants also improve air humidity levels, increasing it by up to 15% in the office. This is because the water absorbed by the vegetables is returned to the environment. This way, the air becomes lighter, bringing health benefits.
Plants have a positive influence on our perception of the environment. Psychologist Helen Russell, from the University of Surrey (UK), found that plants can reduce stress. To reach this discovery, the researcher applied a difficult test to 2 groups of participants: one group performed the test in a room full of plants, while the other performed the same test in a room without plants. Comparing the heart rate and blood pressure of the two groups, she found that the result of the group that worked in the green environment was way superior to the other.
Having indoor plants in your office is as important as being patient and flexible with your employee when welcoming them back into the office after the coronavirus global pandemic. As a new start on their routine, is important that their mental health is taken care of as well as their productivity levels.
At The Plant Man, we can help you to make this transition easier by helping you to rejuvenate your workspace with office plants, and we offer a free quote for all the businesses interested in increasing their productivity and employee satisfaction in the workplace.
In our next blog we will discuss the importance of design and the role plants play in the new post covid work environment