As the environment for employers is constantly changing, best practices for engagement are constantly changing. Off late, companies are looking for routine activities that are comprehensive for employees who are working remotely, on-site, or both. And so, employee wellness programs that promote stress management and encourage better lifestyle habits while enhancing employee engagement and workplace culture have become essential.
According to research, almost 87% of workers are dedicated to finding wellbeing at work. Moreover, businesses are also paying close attention to it as more than a third of these companies have launched some form of corporate wellness program or workplace wellness initiative. Some businesses are unsure how to go when it comes to identifying genuine, scientifically-backed tools to boost employee wellness.
Many study reports correlate the association of screen time to anxiety and depression, emphasizing the satisfaction and wellbeing of employees in relation to digital products may only worsen the problem. Here is when the role of gardening becomes clear.
Earth Day 2023 Gardenuity Workshops
The official theme of Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest in Our Planet,’ which goes in line with the companies investing in corporate wellness initiatives. Donna Letier, the CEO of Gardenuity, stated that people who are burned out will burn down the planet too.
Gardenuity believes growing a garden has been clinically shown to improve trust and confidence between people of all ages, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall health. It is also one of the few initiatives that can be evaluated with various metrics and has a wide range of success indicators:
- Was the crop harvest abundant?
- How many additional minutes a day do workers spend outdoors?
- Was there a rise in air quality?
- What are the anxiety levels of employees before and after spending time in the garden?
As a part of their corporate wellness workshops, more than 4,000 workers from across a dozen organizations took part in gardening activities. The key objectives of these workshops focused on stress reduction, higher employee engagement, building stronger teams, and awareness about environmental sustainability. They are also focused on spreading awareness about how our planet’s health impacts the overall health and wellbeing of all living beings.
Gardening in Employee Wellness Programs
It is a known fact that exposure to nature has a huge positive impact on employee health and wellbeing, thus reflecting better engagement and productivity. And so, many companies have started including nature and its related activities in their employee wellness programs.
Office gardening programs have been growing in popularity among Fortune 500 firms as well as small organizations. Employees enjoy more fresh air each day, they can consume fresh, locally grown produce, and the air surrounding the office actually gets cleaner, thanks to gardening – an entirely tangible, non-digital health activity. One of the best things about corporate gardening is how it unites employees, bringing teams together for a common objective that gets them out of the office and into nature.
Many studies have revealed that corporate gardening activities can help in –
- Overcome loneliness
- Builds stronger teams
- Improve social relationships
- Lower anxiety and depression
- Increase physical activity
- Increase immunity due to exposure to Vitamin D
- Improve mood
- Reduce the risk of dementia
Incorporating garden programs in corporate wellness initiatives can be started from a small-scale level. Be it a small area with containers, a patio, a rooftop, or a backyard – any available space can be converted into a garden with the help of experts. Employees or teams can have their own sections to grow their produce. What they grow and reap can be used by them. Employees can also be encouraged to carry their gardening activities back home, allowing quality family time. The victory of seeing their produce grow in a small timeframe gives them a feeling of accomplishment and success, boosting their morale and confidence, reflecting better emotional, social, and physical health.
When employee wellness programs are implemented the right way, almost 57% of the workforce tends to be more loyal and productive, and the absenteeism rates are likely to be less when company culture supports their mental wellbeing.