We like to think we are pretty good listeners. It is one of the core value of The Fat Plant Society–we love that our customers are our weathervanes for the products we develop as we feel it really is the best method for product development. To that end, we’d like to share with what we have been hearing from our customers along with our recommendations and thoughts on how and why to introduce sustainable greenery in the workplace. What we hear most often from business owners from restaurateurs to corporate purchasing agents is that they have spent $2K to $3K on plants (sometimes in a year) only to have them die, look sad and unappealing, and/or require an “on-site gardener” to maintain and keep alive. That statement caused us to ask why they were so insistent on continuing money on greenery–I mean, you’d think they’d just scrap the idea and find another solution to for design and decor. Here’s what they tell us:
1) Greenery softens a space and makes it more beautiful and welcoming upon entry
2) Staff ask to have greenery in the workplace for the same reasons
3) And the super savvy business owners tell us that they can literally see the benefits of greenery in the workplace in the form of increased happiness/positive attitude, creativity and reduced sick days
So while this post is absolutely for the so called “black thumbs” of the world, it is also for business owners who want to leverage their interior design budget and make the workplace a beautiful, peaceful, inspiring space that people greet with a smile rather than a grimace. Many of us spend the majority of our lives in the workplace so isn’t it even more important to ensure that environment is as comfortable, pleasant as it possibly can be? And with the added benefit of reduced sick days, plants can actually save employers up to $3K annually. So in a sense, with a relatively small investment, introducing moss walls, moss designs, succulents, and other sturdy indoor plants such as the ZZ plant, employers can actually save up to $6K annually (combining the savings on more common, higher maintenance plants with the reduced sick days figure).
As a prime example, we are currently working on a number of projects with Green Clean Designs (really cool company, you should check them out). One of the projects is taking the standard cubicle and covering it in moss. Before you gasp and ask how in the world that is going to save money, we must explain that we use real, preserved moss and here are just a three of the fantastic aspects of moss:
- Moss does not require dirt on the back to remain green and lush for at least ten years.
- Moss does not require any watering or misting of any kind (because it is essentially dormant) and despite its dormancy, it still eats up VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as well as noise (talk about a great way to soften an entryway or conference room that feels like a sad echo chamber).
- Moss does not need light so it truly can go into that conference room or office that has no windows and no light.
So take a look at a sample standard cubicle panel:
And now take a look at a moss covered panel:
So not only is the moss a wonderful means of bringing green into the workplace, it comes in various colors, textures, and depths and part of what we do is “paint” with the moss so as to create the design that best fits the space in which it will live. And the cubicle panels are just the tip of the iceberg of what we have in the works with Green Clean Designs. We’ll keep you posted on the new product offerings as they become available.
As we continue to ask questions of business owners, we learn all sorts of things. But top of the list, in all situations, for us and our friends up at Tersano in Canada (a green cleaning product company that merits more than a peek) is that the bottom line is always number one for business owners. Moss, then, becomes a win-win because not only does it serve the bottom line, it serves the wants and desires of employees as well.
We recently had an illuminating conversation with a business owner who said she felt like her office environment was too perfect and not “human” enough. She wanted her clients to see her design eye at work in her space and make them feel comfortable and welcome. The incredible thing about moss as a biomicry tool it that, like nature, it isn’t 100% flawless and clean. We think some of the most beautiful things in the world are the things that are not perfect. From the beautiful (but very old and imperfect) buildings on Nyhavn in our founder’s home city of Copenhagen to the streets of Paris, to our own, less than perfect backyard oasis that offers anything but a perfectly manicured lawn.
We can relate to that because we live in a house that is nearly 110 years old and much like nature, it seems to be saying, “I’m not perfect, don’t expect me to be. And we’re watching the trends surrounding corporate honesty and the immense value in admitting an error and then working to correct it. It’s as if no one believes in perfect anymore because perfect doesn’t exist.
What does matter are people. Savvy employers get that. People are the engine for the organization and people want to be in nature (or feel as close to nature) as they can. So while you might not be able to take a Forest Bath (yes, it is a thing and you really do want to read this linked article) you can bring the forest inside the office for a lot less money than you might thank and with virtually zero maintenance. The pro and con list kind of speaks for itself.
So cheers to people! Cheers to biomimcry and nature! Cheers to being green.
Kasey and Morten
The Fat Plant Society