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Offices adding greenery as part of work-style reform

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In the lounge where employees relax, a tree dubbed "everfresh," which survived a typhoon in a forest in Okinawa in the southernmost prefecture of Japan, stands as a symbol of company vitality.

If they are interested in buying my trees, I have plenty I can share, and ALL of them have weathered at least 30 typhoons! Be a much better "symbol of vitality" than one tree that survived "a" typhoon in Okinawa!

Must be a pretty small tree!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is all fine and dandy but the Japanese white collar workers I know spend most of their time running around Japan meeting clients/customers. Most of them are in the office from 6 to 11 doing reports / desk work. I don't think they will be admiring plants in the office. They will be more focused on eating their unhealthy convenience store dinner and making that last train home and see their family. Believe me, plants is not the answer! I had plants, family photos and nick knacks on my desk and around in my section (I was section head) The only thing that helped me move forward were the pics of my kids on my desk.

Hey I got a good idea that may possibly reduce stress, let staff go home after an 8 hour shift. I worked in and office for 20 years and missed watching my kids grow up. As my health was deteriorating, I decided to get out and start my own business. Health has recovered, sleeping great, more active, not a single headache since and just enjoying life and even earning more!!!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Welcome to the mid 20th century.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

How about improving worker efficiency do people spend less time at the office waiting for their bosses to go home instead?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I'm a big proponent of plants in the office. It creates a softer, more natural feeling, and while it may be a placebo effect, plants make it feel like the office air is more oxygenated, and clean.

We have a lot of plants in our offices. And I've had a lot of positive comments about them over the years.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Oh ok, this will curb overwork-induced suicide and depression. Have a few plants around the office and all will be ok

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Cool! Now, the get to stare at plants for 16 hours a day instead of staring at the wall.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Stranger: Are your air conditioners set an appropriate 28 degrees also? That truly makes things comfortable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I agree with Strangerland. My former company moved to a new office which the top brass designed. They put in an entire wall of greenery in the lounge, or refresh area (plastic, but hey!) and seven massage chairs around the office. They built space where people can get away to work quietly instead of on “the island”, as well as a lot of “free space” to use for meetings that didn’t need to be booked through Outlook (always overbooked). They also allowed people to use those giant balance balls in place of chairs (many did). There is a garden full of trees and plants (real) on the roof with a picnic table and benches that we used for lunch as well.

They implemented super flex time, “happy Friday”, work from home three days a week and full casual (mind your manners when meeting clients).

It has made made a HUGE difference in the way we worked as well as felt. Productivity definitely improved.

So I wouldn’t suggest “dissing” the plant idea until you have had the opportunity to test it out. Japanese people ARE changing the way the work, friends.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

My office had greenery in our lobby but only one person took care of the plants, and that was me. Shocking to see how no one would drop a cup of water in the planters even just once a week ("mendoukusai"). After a while, in a bid to save money I guess, the head office stopped the contract about 2 years ago. Doubt if any of the Japanese have even noticed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Might work, some staff at Government departments take their own greenery to work in an effort to de stress. I remember when people thought fish tanks were the answer. Then there was the aroma phase. Look forward to seeing these in the next decade or two. Pet days didn't last too long. First step limit work time to 8hrs a day. That seems to be an enduring and popular first step to creating a stress free environment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Before moving to Japan my last contract job in London which I did for several years was electrical engineer for several very large BT buildings with thousands of workers in each. I was responsible for the lighting and ac among other things.

One building had sick building syndrome and some of the more sensitive workers suffered from it and needed days off.

I persuaded BT to make changes with new carpets, different lighting, adjusted the ac for individual needs instead of one setting for all. Also introduced plants.

The environment improved and no more sick days so BT was happy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Companies are paying greater attention to working environments as they have been legally required to screen for stress-related illnesses since December 2015. They are finding that the promotion of employees' health by adding plants to the workplace reduces stress and increases their productivity.

How about just fire the 50+ year old lazy buchos that cause all the stress?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Making the office more pleasant looking so people can do that unpaid overtime I guess.. lol

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You know what relieves stress and increases productivity?....normal business hours, where people can leave work at a reasonable time to spend with their family and friends.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

You know what relieves stress and increases productivity?....normal business hours, where people can leave work at a reasonable time to spend with their family and friends.

Amen!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

yes a great way to address the issue of workplace bullying, horrible bosses and unpaid overtime... get some plants, why didn't i think of that?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A step in the right direction.

I want to work in an office with a lot of trees. A jungle motif if you will. Perhaps see a few future governors. Maybe work with a couple of aliens. I have definitely got to sit next to Dillion. Then at the end of the day, we all go to the rooftop and yell:

GET TO THE CHOPPAH!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It would be awesome if this push for greater greenery in our daily surroundings expanded to include people's homes as well.

New homes being built in this country are so sterile and devoid of greenery that they make me sick just looking at them. Easily 90% of new homes are just plastic sided boxes plopped onto land that is entirely entombed in concrete with either no greenery whatsoever or at best a tiny shrub planted in a corner.

This isn't normal - even just look at houses here that were built in the 80s or 90s (or earlier) and most of them had some land intended as a garden for greenery. In the past twenty years though the developers have completely eliminated this portion of land use and now their standard homes (which were never nice to begin with) are just these desolate grey eyesores.

As the article notes having some connection to greenery is really important for human wellbeing, but its being completely eliminated from the residential environment at an alarming rate.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

New homes being built in this country are so sterile and devoid of greenery that they make me sick just looking at them. Easily 90% of new homes are just plastic sided boxes plopped onto land that is entirely entombed in concrete with either no greenery whatsoever or at best a tiny shrub planted in a corner.

You must be talking about city's like Tokyo.

In our location, Tatsuno, people have very large houses with gardens and land for growing vegetables. Land prices are very expensive in Tokyo. The houses/ gardens in our road are full of beautiful flowers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You must be talking about city's like Tokyo.

> In our location, Tatsuno, people have very large houses with gardens and land for growing vegetables. Land prices are very expensive in Tokyo. The houses/ gardens in our road are full of beautiful flowers.

I'm talking about the suburbs of medium to large cities (where roughly 80% of the population of Japan lives).

I know that in the countryside things are a bit different (I've been to Tatsuno several times actually, very lovely area. I spent four years living up the road in Himeji.) But the situation in towns like that are quite different from where most Japanese actually live (in cities). And, oddly, even in places like that where land is cheap and plentiful, most of the housing developments in recent years mimic the ones you see in densely crowded cities: houses without gardens plopped onto tiny parcels of land covered in concrete. Its really disorienting to look at since they are usually surrounded by rice paddies and open space all around them, yet the human beings reside in these little concrete islands.

As I also said, its different with older neighborhoods and buildings. But new ones even in the countryside are really genuinely awful to look at.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I know that the office environment is important as many people spend more time in it rather then their own, it makes complete sence to make more comfortable. But there are bigger issues that also need attention. Other than some pot plants. The rural vs suburban housing thing I couldn't believe an island of houses amidst so much land! Why would you want to have any neighbors in such an ideal setting. Bamboozling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does a welder have a plant in his welding bay? Does a plumber carry one in his truck? Do they put plants along the assembly line at a car factory? Not everybody works in an office, you know? The biggest issues in Japanese business are increasing productivity and reducing overtime.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you feel disconnected from your family and humanity due to working 70 hours a week in an office where you are harassed from above and have but whiffs of vacation to look forward to in order to empower your grip on this mortal coil fear not! You can now seek solace in a fern.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Does a welder have a plant in his welding bay? Does a plumber carry one in his truck? Do they put plants along the assembly line at a car factory? Not everybody works in an office, you know?

No. The article is explicitly about officer workers and their working environment. It is an article about people who work in offices, not those who work outside of offices. At no point does the article claim that everybody works in an office, nor is it reasonable to infer from anything written therein that the author believes this to be the case.

The biggest issues in Japanese business are increasing productivity and reducing overtime.

Sure, but that in no way precludes us from also reading about smaller issues like the one in this article.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic! There was a fad for this in British offices in the 80’s, plastic plants in the corridors, no natural light so nothing living could flourish, the odd palm or fern where there was some natural light. Can't say it did much, getting out in to a real green space, even your garden has more effect. The solution to stress is to remove the causes of the stress, the odd pot plant simply doesn’t cut it.

Having said that, every little helps, now you have a few pots move on to the real solutions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stranger: Are your air conditioners set an appropriate 28 degrees also? That truly makes things comfortable.

Nope, I can't work in that heat.

I'm not sure what that has to do with my plants though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's weird that because there are other ways of also making an office better and/or releasing stress, people are dissing this one. Can anyone actually tell us what is wrong with plants in the office?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Beings working at 7am.

The time is now 8pm.

Thinking to myself. That plant sure is beautiful. Forget about wanting to go home, this tree helps me to relax while working a 14 hour plus day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sick building syndrome is a real matter and something which needs dealing with when it happens. Workers are less healthy, less productive, less happy. There are high levels of paper dust, human skin and hair floating around the atmosphere. Requires regular maintenance to clean the ac and extractor fans and monthly replacement of filters. I've seen filters so old and filthy they didn't work anymore. Carpets should be industrially cleaned at least every year. There's much that can be done to improve the working environment including adding plants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I work from an office in my house and I have a jungle of houseplants growing in here. The greenery makes it a much more pleasant place to work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can anyone actually tell us what is wrong with plants in the office?

It's neither wrong nor good. It's not the plants per se we criticize but the new patronizing, when your boss thinks he's your grandpa and he buys you a ping-pong table... . They give you snacks, drinks, then they put you a gym and showers, plants, etc. That :

way to reduce stress among employees and enhance their corporate image to make them more attractive to potential recruits.

it's just one of the costly gadgets to make believe office is a pleasant place. But why is there stress to reduce and corporate image to improve ?

yes a great way to address the issue of workplace bullying, horrible bosses and unpaid overtime... 

Plus commuting in hellish condition (when you could just tele work from your veranda, with your bonsai sitting on your lap). Workers would benefit more from real attention to their big issues. And the gadget money could go onto the paychecks, so one can work less hours or retire sooner or have something to spend... on plants too.

There is a garden full of trees and plants

Super... and here we have ducks, fish, the insect hotel; long chairs under the trees along the ponds.... Yawn. You know what ? The cost is crazy, office rent is silly as the gardening fees are on par with those of Versailles' palace.

Then in the 80's that was the big fashion to landscape the industrial areas with fast growing birches, cypresses... Now, some workers are allergic to their pollen and accessing workplace in season is a nightmare.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's neither wrong nor good. It's not the plants per se we criticize but the new patronizing, when your boss thinks he's your grandpa and he buys you a ping-pong table... . They give you snacks, drinks, then they put you a gym and showers, plants, etc.

So should the not be buying these plants?

Because with all the criticism here, it sure seems like that's what people are inferring.

Even if I hated my job, if my boss did something to make it at all nicer, I'd be happy about that, even if I still hated my job.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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