Wacky office perk saturation seems to have hit. The shock value quirkily designed offices might be on its way out. Who wants to take the massive two-story slide down to attend their next meeting in the PAC-MAN conference room anyway?
For peak employee happiness, it seems like we're going back to the basics. Employees are craving more peace and quiet. (Which, unsurprisingly, is good for your brain.) Meditation rooms and nap pods are in. And if you've noticed a common theme as multi-billion dollar companies unveil their new offices, plants are also in. Lots and lots of plants.
Yes, plants are the new trend in office design. It's no joke. Big tech companies are out-planting each other to compete for greenest office building on the planet.
The likes of Amazon, Apple, Google and even Lego have started to heavily incorporate live greenery into their office parks and employee workspaces. Their efforts extend beyond placing a few nice ferns in the foyer. These companies are designing offices that creatively bring the indoors in. They blur the lines between inside and outside with access to nature everywhere you turn. They're planting lush green campuses to invite employees to venture outside. Apple's reportedly planting thousands of trees at theirs.
The positive effects of upping your green quotient have long been clear. There's a reason every you hear you should keep a plant on your desk at work. Studies have found that plants increases memory retention and concentration and can boost productivity by up to 15 percent.
While the push towards greener workspaces isn't exactly radical, news of Amazon's new urban greenhouses shows how far companies are willing to go. A recent New York Times piece features these treehouse-like structures, which Amazon is calling spheres. Here's a blurb from the piece that's just too good not to share:
When they open in early 2018, the spheres will be packed with a plant collection worthy of top-notch conservatories, allowing Amazon employees to amble through tree canopies three stories off the ground, meet with colleagues in rooms with walls made from vines and eat kale Caesar salads next to an indoor creek.
Lead architect Dale Alberda told New York Times the goal is to inspire creativity with increased access to nature. More than 3,000 plant species will be housed in one of these glass spheres. Who's going to take care of all those plants? Don't worry; Amazon horticulturist Ron Gagliardo is on it. While Amazon employees revel in their alternate nature reality workspaces, the spheres will be closed to the public. Unfortunately for the rest of us, a few leaves on our desks will have to do.