Upper-level manager #1: "The results of the employee morale survey are back. Morale is at an all time low. The employees feel that upper-level management is clueless, they are increasingly unable to do their jobs efficiently because of process and bureaucracy, and the raises we gave this year were below industry average."
Upper-level manager #2: "I just googled 'how to raise morale' and it said 'plants'"
Upper-level manager #1: "Let's do that!"
If an individual wants to spend it on a plant for their desk, great.
I feel like this for most benefits btw.
An interesting alternate approach I was privy to and liked joining was a weekly 'spruce up the office meeting' where some of the management team would discuss upcoming holidays (how to best fit employee needs), decorations, budgets allocated to 'team building' events (more often than not - give the staff the money and have them provide a receipt for somewhere they've spent it), who has a birthday coming up, etc. Discussion of plants was included too. Team prizes, award certificates. I definitely recommend trying such a weekly approach and seeing if it works. We did ours on a Friday afternoon, where everyone was itching to get going as it was; pretty fun and relaxed.
In fact, not acting on feedback is also the #1 reason why employees choose not to give feedback in the first place. I wrote a bit about it here & what CEOs + managers can do to actually act on feedback: https://signalvnoise.com/posts/3760-why-we-dont-speak-up-at-...
Hope it's helpful!
My first EcoSphere was the little one, and the shrimp lasted a year or two.
My large sphere has been going for at least 4 years. From what I remember reading the algae will go on basically indefinitely once the shrimp died, but my little shrimp are still kicking. I've got two little shrimp in there right now, and I've seen so much.
When the shrimp die, they go away (eaten by bacteria) quite quickly. You can see the other shrimp poke at the corpses, I assume eating some of the bacteria or algae.
The shrimp also change colors. Depending on how stressed they are and a few other things they can be quite light pink (fading into white) or bright red.
My shrimp have bread at least one. I saw the little bits in the water and thought it was some sort of debris but I noticed that it was moving. They looked like little fry. I don't think any survived (I assume died or eaten), but maybe the shrimp I have are second generation or more. No real way to know.
I haven't touched it in years. It gets a dusting every few months, but there isn't much dust so it doesn't matter. I haven't done a 'cleaning' (uses a magnet sealed inside to scrap algae off the glass) in years. It sits in my apartment that I try to keep about 70 but has been as low as 60 and over 80. They seem quite resilient.
It's a very neat desk accessory. At this point there is quite a bit of algae built up in mine so it looks dirty, and a few people have asked me why I don't clean it (doesn't help since the algae is still trapped in there) or just throw it away because it looks disgusting.
But with the two shrimp living in there, I can't throw it out. They're still happy.
Although I have to admit large-scale installation of these things in cubicles would be quite the fitting ststement for many companies...
It wouldn't surprise me much if you were right.
I don't plan to buy another though. It's been neat to watch, but after 6+ years (since I've had two spheres) I'm satisfied.
If they indeed life up to 20 years the Ecosphere can hardly be very well balanced if it keeps them going for only 2-3 years.
Now we have a problem where where to put it all. I make a huge bowl of pesto every week and force feed basil to all my coworkers whenever I get a chance but I just can't get rid of all of it. I can't even make a dent in the huge bush we have.
We also grew some salad with mixed success but it's not a reliable enough source to be worth the effort.
Anyway, it's rather enjoyable. I recommend getting a small hydro garden to anyone who has any space and a little natural light in their office. Hydros need less regular maintenance (but need a bigger maintenance every now and then).
If anyone has any (preferably edible) plants that are suited for a hydroculture, please do suggest.
I don't know what we'll do with the starters for more plants, as I think we probably have enough basil. But, "too much basil" might be a nice problem to have.
The varieties of basil we grow start out slow but grow really fast after a few weeks. The individual plants reach a height of several feet in a month or so.
We have started out by planting a few seeds and once those plants reach some height, we take cuttings to clone them and fill the entire garden. I've had an almost 100% success rate in cloning basil, much better than any other plant I've tried.
Do not trim the growth nodes (you won't eat them anyway), just pick as much leaves as you need from the lower parts of the plants.
Basil is really easy to grow in hydrocultures, it's much more difficult to grow in soil. Rucola is the opposite, I've had zero success putting it in the hydros at the office but grows really well at home in soil.
Herbs are easiest I think. Mint is super low maintenance and nice for flavoring water and for cocktails. Thai basil can be tasty, and other varieties of basil are also fun. I've had no luck at all with thyme, but... eh. I'm also growing lavender just because it smells good.
Veggie-wise, you can try fast growing sprouts and microgreens, perhaps? I'm also trying my hand at some bird's eye chilies despite lack of temperature control and general warm weather in SF.
I'll take your excess basil if you're in the Bay Area, they're always running out at the supermarket and interrupting my pesto schedule XD
And I have some reservations about carrying green leaves in small baggies :)
I'm not sure if it's the plants themselves which generated the positive change, or whether anything else (paintings, something personal/warm) would have generated a similar response.
And while I rant about my awful working conditions, at least I don't have my keyboard fixed into place !!
For these reasons, the best office plants tend to be species that were historically found in the understory of cloud forests or rainforests. Some popular options are Dieffenbachia sp. (mother-in-law's tongue), Philodendron sp., Monstera edulis (it can grow really large, but it also produces an edible fruit that tastes like a pineapple), Ficus benjamina (weeping fig), many orchids and ferns will also work if you can supplement their lighting by placing them on a windowsill. If you are someone is who is not good about remembering to water, you might want to consider a bromeliad such as Tillandsia.
Succulents are not a good choice. Succulence in plants is usually an adaptation for an outdoor environment with too much light -- the exact opposite of what is found in an office. Mold on the soil is also a clear indication that you are over-watering.
Let me tell you what I have in my office (disclaimer: I like plants): Monstera deliciosa, Adiantum aleuticum (five-fingered fern), Vanilla aphyla (leafless vanilla orchid), Vanilla planifolia (Tahitian vanilla orchid), another orchid (can't ID it until it flowers), and Coffea arabica (yes, coffee actually does pretty well in an office, if you have the room).
Click the X to view the wikipedia article.
Marijuana. In the prohibition era just ending, many people discovered this in surreptitious basement experiments.
> I tried a succulent but the soil was covered in mold in a few weeks.
From an evolutionary perspective, that would indicate success, but for the mold, not the plant.
You do realize that those are grow lights, which are at a different color temp and higher wattage than normal office lights.. right?
Can't cite a source on this one, you're just going to have to take my word for it. Seen it work in practice :)
A mild dish soap works, personally I get one with no dyes, fragrances or anti-bacterial stuff in it.
(are those the Peace Plants pentabular refers to?)
From experience they do grow, though slowly, indoors with low natural light coming in, so if you were near a window they would be a good choice.
Rooms with no doors in large buildings are sometimes used as meeting rooms (since they aren't intended for permanent work). I have seen once a large room with just a few windows that were far away from most desks, I guess it was technically legal but would probably not pass should one of the employees sue (comfort is an important part of the law).
Apologies - but I don't have a written source - perhaps someone else can shed some light..
There are better types of lights for growing plants but fluorescent are not bad at all.
Given that you are willing to accept mold as a plant, that is. Make it easy on yourself. Accept the mold.
I won't live in a city nor work in one for these very reasons. I never want to look out a window and see concrete. Yeah I know cities have parks and fortunately cities like Atlanta have more trees than not, but its the grayness, the dirty feeling I don't miss. Which leads me into one peeve, who thought that gray cubes and dark carpet were appealing?
The cleaners/the people who try to keep the cost of cleaning low.
They're not that bad, though, as long as you have sufficient daylight (building not too wide, large windows, low cubicle walls)
Aping them by putting plants in front of disempowered bored workers will not help.
Personally I don't care one way or the other. As long as it's cool, clean, relatively quiet, and I have a comfortable chair and a nice keyboard I'm good. But I don't put up any pictures or nicknacks either. I guess I prefer clutter free space.
So, as counter point, I look at a plant and feel happy. I mean, if it can survive here, then I probably can.
(EDIT: I'm dead serious here)
At home I just observed that when I have plants near my windows, I get bees, wasps and hornets during summer much more often.
But, Reddit-puns aside, this is already quite a common office service in London. We pay a company to bring plants, water them, prune them, etc.