Author Archive for Cricket Bo – Page 3

Ban Stress with Plants

stress awareness

By Joe Zazzera, LEED AP, GRP | November 11, 2010 | topics: stress relief from using indoor plants

Our modern life-styles contribute to personal stress overload and government cuts will have shot stress graphs higher in the recent weeks too as we worry about how they will affect us.

Stress has been named and shamed as making the risk of death 5 times (³) more likely and exposed it as the culprit of a loss of up to 20 million days for businesses, so it’s high time we looked at ways to improve our lifestyles and put stress back where it belongs!

“We know from various studies that plants help to reduce stress – one of the biggest causes of heart disease as well as costing businesses through absenteeism. Just one plant can have an amazingly positive effect on people reducing their stress levels by 50% (¹),” says eFIG’s (²) chairman, Thomas Palfreyman.

Research by a workplace consultancy firm Croner found that the top three causes of stress for UK employees were work (63%), finances (62%) and the economy (49%).

Croner commented that high levels of stress could lead to absence, staff turnover and poor morale in the workplace and advise, “Stress issues should not be put on the back burner as it has a direct effect on productivity and impacts on an organization’s reputation and customer satisfaction. The problems that cause stress should be tackled head on.”

More to the Power of Plants
Several research studies have confirmed that plants – even views of them – reduce stress levels. A new study published early this year in Australia confirmed that just one plant on a desk – at work or in the home office – could have a really positive effect on people’s moods and reduce depression and anxiety by 50 & 60%.

Even Chris Evans on his Breakfast Show quoted research by Dr David Lewis which claims that workers can reduce their stress levels by 60% by looking at a plant for 15 minutes.

And plant-induced calm employees are more satisfied with their jobs, less likely to jump ship and join another company, more focused, perform better by as much as 12% and are more motivated.

If businesses used plants as part of their stress management programmes, they could have a very positive effect on the bottom line.

With National Stress Awareness Day coming up, maybe it’s time to relook at your stress management policies?

Editor’s Notes
(¹)’Greening the Great Indoors for Human Health and Well-being’, Margaret Burchett et al, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, 2010
(²) eFIG, the European Federation of Interior Landscaping Industries is a not-for-profit, membership based organization
(³) Stress increases ‘risk of death five-fold’ – article in The Telegraph, 9 September 2010

Green (and red) Holiday Decor

artificial holiday decor alternatives

By Joe Zazzera, GRP, LEED AP ID + C | October 7, 2010 | topics: holiday decor, artificial decor alternatives, holiday greenery

The holiday season is traditionally decked out in red and green, but you can make your holidays “greener” in more ways than one. Not only can your holiday decorations be eco-friendly, they can also add more “green” back into your pocket. Here are some easy ways to do both:

  • Look for alternatives to the usual VOC-producing polyvinyl-chloride artificial trees and wreaths. Your local decorator or interior expert can provide you with a tree frame filled with beautiful poinsettias for an unusual and colorful alternative. These pyramids of red and green are not only breath-taking in their appearance, they actually help you breathe easier for removing harmful VOC’s from the air. These poinsettia trees are available in all sizes from 6 ft. to 60 ft. tall and can be strung with lights for more impact and excitement.
  • Another alternative to artificial trees are live ball-and-burlap evergreen trees. Depending on your city’s fire codes you may need to treat these with fire retardant but with expert care they should look fresh and beautiful throughout the entire season. Use them outdoors or bring them in with waterproof decorative containers. They’ll do best in cooler temperatures and be sure to keep the root-ball moist. These can be planted outdoors after the holidays, or donate them to your local senior center, school or parks and recreation department.
  • Grapevine wreaths can be heavily decorated and lighted for a spectacular effect, minus the VOC’s off-gassed by the usually artificial wreath. Use natural elements such as pine cones, bird’s nests, little clay pots, ribbons and dried flowers or fruits. Aluminum ornaments can be recycled and are often sold by local craftsmen. Or support a local school or children’s program with a donation in exchange for some hand-crafted paper origami ornaments.
  • Grapevine is also used to make life-sized reindeer, sleighs and other standing ornaments. Grapevine grows rapidly and is a renewable resource, organic and biodegradable and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
  • Want to save on your electric bill? Use LED lighting instead. Although the initial cost is usually higher, these lights use much less power and will usually last for 10 years, a great cost-saving, energy-reducing investment.
  • Colorful blooming plants are a great way to spruce up your lobby and fit any budget. Poinsettias now come in many colors, including different shades of red, burgundy, pink, peach, cream. Some even have stripes or spots. Some of the more non-traditional colors may need to be special-ordered so don’t wait until the last minute.

Other blooming plants include paper-white narcissus, cyclamen, ornamental peppers and azaleas.

  • Looking for a desk-top decoration or unusual gift? Miniature trees made of sweet-smelling rosemary can be decorated with mini ornaments or tiny bows, and some evergreens may also be available in smaller sizes. Keep them moist indoors and plant them outside after the holidays.
  • Don’t forget to add the music. Host a lunch-time concert and invite your local school choir or charitable group to sing traditional carols. Sponsor a giving tree or food drive as part of the event. This is the best time of year to support charities and show your social responsibility.