As you might have heard, everything's gone green. Pick up any lifestyle magazine, and you'll quickly realize that "green living" is in; however, did you know that this also applies to the workplace?
Don't get too excited, though. It isn't so much that companies are starting to pay more attention to pollution, contributions to gridlock, etc, but rather that companies in the United States are starting to see the value of offering greener pastures to their own employees.
A recently article in Financial Times talks about Genzyme (a large biotech company) and the latest addition to their HQ – an indoor garden featuring a 200 m2 tropical waterfall in the reception area with "biodiverse styles."
Before you start laughing or thinking "Oh, California" (actually it's Massachusetts), this does seem to be what people want. According to Genzyme's senior corporate communications director (and who says job titles are getting out of hand?), a wooded area is exactly what you need after a day in meeting rooms.
In fat, nearly nine out of 10 Genzyme employees believe that the interior gardens improved their general well-being while three-quarters felt that access to natural light made them more productive.
This is quite interesting, because as silly as it sounds, it certainly makes sense. Spend a day in a unlit open space and then tell me how you're feeling. If that's not enough, go spend 8 hours in Corporate Meeting Room A and let me know how that goes.
Of course, how many of us actually get diverse visuals at the office to break up the monotony? Also, who exactly gets the windowed offices that offer natural light? In most places I've worked, its middle management and higher.
This is an interesting concept that arguably will improve company morale and stress levels. Due to cost limitations, such visual aids aren't likely to come to small or mid-sized companies any time soon. Nevertheless, it's good to see some companies recognize the value of comfort in environment – even in the workplace.