Bonsais Linked to Better Office Productivity
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Welcome to part 5 of our Office Executive Series! Today, we’re going to look at how bonsais are linked to better office productivity. Since we’ve revealed various types of bonsais for your office space, we’re going to dig a bit deeper into how it can assist you.
It may seem strange to beginners, but experts are familiar with this concept. It’s one of the top benefits of bonsais, as it inspires you to achieve more. It also shows you how to practice patience and take a moment to break away from it all.
Here are the main points we’ll discuss in this article:
Here are the main points we’ll discuss in this article:
How Long Can A Bonsai Go Without Water?
You may think that the idea that bonsais provide increased office productivity is a marketing scheme to encourage employees to work harder. However, there have been several studies that show the impact that plants, in general, have in the workplace, whether you work in a corporate environment or at home.
Besides Forbes and the University of Vermont stressing the point as far as pot plants are concerned, we’re looking at improving office productivity from a bonsai perspective. While we’ll share the same general principles, we’re adding some of our own so you can see what makes these miniature landscapes so stunning for the workplace.
Oxygenation of the Air
Even if you have an air conditioner in your room, all it does is cool, heat, or ventilate the air in your office, which is essentially a sealed environment. In most cases, the company implores employees to keep the window closed when the AC is on to save electricity. Of course, most HVAC systems use most of the power in corporate facilities, which just adds to the carbon footprint.
Be that as it may, bonsais are excellent for cleaning the air naturally. They use carbon dioxide and other gases, exchanging them for oxygen. They also absorb other pollutants that are known to make us ill, resulting in less sick leave. It’s also easier to focus on your work better when there’s fresh air.
Perception of Space
If you work in a dreary office space with no plants for long enough, you’ll become bored with it. While you may not realize it, this perception of space has a negative impact on productivity. You don’t actually feel like doing your work, and it will affect your mood for the day.
When you place bonsais in various locations in your office, you’ll notice how your mood picks up. It serves as an oasis when you return from a stressful meeting or bad encounter. In the end, it serves as a haven you can come to when you want to focus on your work goals.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
While having one plant in your office can boost your productivity, you should consider having more in open-plan spaces or across the building. If you’re a manager in the company, it’s in your buying power to acquire them for everyone. If you’re an employee or executive, consider becoming a champion for bonsais in offices.
When more people are involved, you’ll notice how much it spreads happiness in the building. With everyone having better focus, you may notice increased productivity across the board. Besides, everyone loves a wonderful gift to spice up their lives.
A Sense of Calm
The workplace can quickly turn into a space for contention and stress. Even if you work remotely from home, the workload can quickly increase, causing anxiety. It can be challenging to find a moment to breathe and just take a second to relax.
Unlike normal pot plants, bonsais need careful attention and care. You’ll need to make time to prune, water, and even talk to them. These moments help you take a break from the chaos of work, relieving the tension in your body and brain and possibly helping you derive some solutions to your problems.
Noise Level Reduction
When you work in an office long enough, you start to ignore the noise pollution around you. It could be from the air conditioner constantly running, the traffic outside your window, or the people passing your office while they talk. Sure, you can put on some music, but there’s another remedy for these distractions that threaten to lower your productivity.
In essence, the bonsais reduce the reverberation of sounds, and thereby change the acoustics in the room. Many businesses along busy roads place plants by the windows to reduce the noise from outside. They block the sounds, or at least cause it to take longer before they reach your ears.
An effective team that works together is an incredible solution towards increased office productivity. When you learn to do activities as a team, you can get a lot more done in the span of a day. It’s also easier to complete tasks when everyone has a defined role or assignment.
One way you can practice team building is by assigning everyone a task for the bonsais. One person can be responsible for pruning, another for watering, and someone else for health inspections. You can even offer a small class to teach them how to care for their bonsais.
They say that one of the greatest killers of productivity is stress. When you have too much on your plate, personally and professionally, it can dampen your ability to work. You lose focus, and the tasks continue to pile up.
When you have bonsais in the office, they act as stress relievers. When you feel like it’s all too much, you can take five to ten minutes to just pay attention to your tree. You can feel the stress drain away while you clean the leaves or pay attention to the trunk.
If you want to offload, you can talk to it about your problems. The only time you should panic is when you hear the bonsai speaking back to you.
The one aspect that shines bright in a bonsai is that you get to be creative. You can play around with the design, decide how you want to grow it, and cultivate your own style. There are so many things you can do with the tree, and the options are almost endless.
You may not realize it at the start, but this practice activates the creative side of your brain. You’ll start seeing problems from different angles, giving you a new perspective and helping you find other solutions. You can see it as pruning off the issues and shaping the ideas towards a resolution while developing your own style at work.
Sick Building Syndrome Reduction
If you work in a massive corporate building with central air conditioning, you’ve no doubt heard of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). This event happens when the AC hasn’t been cleaned in a while, and everyone’s illnesses are circulating throughout the facility. It also happens when the dust and pollen linger without proper ventilation.
Since bonsais assist with gaseous exchange and reducing pollutants while also helping with stress, you may notice fewer people taking off sick during the year. They’ll feel happier and healthier with fewer sick notes. However, it doesn’t mean that your employer shouldn’t deal with the SBS.
The Downside of Bonsais in the Office
Of course, bonsais need regular maintenance, so you’ll need to take time out of your busy day to care for them. While this helps with stress reduction and giving your brain and body a breather, any long-term neglect will end in the tree’s death. You’ll need to be attentive.
However, this aspect isn’t the most significant concern. If you have colleagues that have asthma or allergies, you may be causing problems in the office when the bonsais flower. The pollen causes issues with their sinuses and breathing, and you may end up having to remove the tree from the area. You might want to focus on conifers that don’t produce flowers or go back to our recommendations for the ideal office bonsais.
Inspirational Office Bonsai
You’ve seen how bonsais are linked to productivity in the office. Now that you have a better understanding, we’re going to show you which species are best suited to this task and why. We’ve based some of these on personal experience, while some associates have shared others with us.
Rubber Fig (Ficus elastica)
Native to South Asian countries, the Rubber Ficus tree is part of the mulberry family. It has formed an interesting relationship with wasps, which is one of the few insects that pollinate it. For that reason, you won’t see bright flowers, as it has no intention of attracting any other wildlife.
When it comes to symbolism, Ficus elastica represents wealth, abundance, and happiness. All of these are conducive to improved productivity, especially where your workload is directly proportionate to your income (the harder you work, the more money you make). Of course, workplace satisfaction and happiness go a long way to seeing better results.
What makes the bonsai stand out from other fig trees are the rubbery leaves with a slightly glossy shine on the upper surface. If you manage to receive fruit on your tree, they will display yellow-green oval shapes. The stems are strong and resilient, which are more features related to working hard in the office.
When it comes to care, the Rubber Ficus does well in indirect sunlight, while it’s happy to receive some morning light for a few hours. You should only water it once a week, but you can increase it to twice if you see the soil drying out quickly. It all depends on the environment in your office.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
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Forming part of the asparagus family, the Lucky Bamboo mostly grows in Central Africa. It makes a wonderful specimen as a bonsai if you grow it in a tall pot to complement the lengthy, thin stalks. Despite the name, it doesn’t form part of true bamboo plants that form part of the cereal-crop family, Poaceae.
In terms of symbolism and meaning, Dracaena sanderiana represents prosperity and luck. It also relates to living a strong, healthy life, while at work it reinforces longevity and flexibility. All of these aspects are key towards improving productivity in the office.
Scientifically, the Lucky Bamboo is a perennial herb with grey-green leaves that twist and turn. If you keep the stalks short, you can create several leaves to give it a stunning, unique bonsai look, like the Money Tree and Ponytail Palm. It can handle dry air in the office, so you won’t need to constantly watch the humidity levels.
For adequate care, it’s recommended to grow it as a hydroponic bonsai. The roots love staying in water, and you never have to worry about overwatering it. You should also use decorative rocks to keep the stalks in place, as they can be quite flimsy and move a lot when there’s a strong breeze.
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)
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The Money Tree forms parts of the mallow family, and it’s native to regions where swamps grow well, such as Central and South America. It has several other interesting common names, such as Malabar Chestnut, Guiana Chestnut, French Peanut, Saba Nut, and Provision Tree. Besides being sold as a bonsai, many retailers also market it as a popular house and office plant.
As the name implies, the Money Tree symbolizes prosperity and wealth in most instances, but there are other uses that many people forget to mention. For example, it’s well known for reducing stress and alleviating any side effects of radiators in the office. If you’re worried about how the WiFi waves affect our bodies, some believe you can place a Pachira aquatica close to the router to counteract it.
While the green palmate leaves put on a splendid display, it’s often the massive chestnut fruit that steals all the attention. Of course, your bonsai has a low chance of producing these, as it’s mostly ornamental. When the summer arrives, you can expect a gorgeous presentation of showy flowers if your tree is old enough.
The Money Tree bonsai is incredibly easy to care for, and you need sufficient drainage to ensure the roots don’t stay wet. Depending on humidity levels in your office, you’ll need to water about twice a week. Ensure there’s sufficient indirect light, and give the pot a turn every now and again to make the leaves grown evenly.
Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Cupressus sempervirens is a popular cypress species that thrives in many countries worldwide, famous for its tall, tapering shape. You’ll often find it standing by churches or graveyards with its spiritual connection with death and mourning. Other common names include Mediterranean Cypress, Persian Cypress, Pencil Pine, and Tuscan Cypress.
The are other light symbols it represents besides the darker tone mentioned above. It stands for perseverance, strength, hope, and immortality. If you or a colleague have lost someone who was dear to you, you can place the Italian Cypress bonsai on your desk as a memorial to your loved one.
The foliage is dark green and stretches to a point towards the sky, or the ceiling in the case of your office. It has small round cones that hold the seeds in small sections within the hard fruit. When you play with the needles and bark, it produces a wonderful scent you may enjoy.
Since you’re placing it in your office, we recommend using a humidity tray to keep the air’s moisture levels up. You’ll need to water about twice a week while ensuring that the soil doesn’t dry out completely. The Italian Cypress loves up to six hours of sunlight in the morning and evening, but try to keep the leaves away from direct sunlight in the peak afternoon.
Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata)
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Another part of the cypress family, the Blue Star Juniper is native to China and the Himalayas. The name derives from the blue-green leaves that spread out like small stars. The leaves also have a silvery sheen that reflects sunlight, making them look like they twinkle when the wind blows.
Juniperus squamata has several meanings, namely, providence, protection, potency, and romance. Many also believe it thwarts anyone’s attempts at stealing from you, adding the list of esoteric supernatural beliefs. When it comes to the office, the “potency” symbolism is the one that’s more closely related to productivity, giving you a sense that you can accomplish anything.
Mostly grown as a shrub in the wild, you can maintain the bushy appearance as a bonsai. We recommend a cascading style, with most of the needles cleaned off until the upper four nodes. If you manage to grow an ovoid cone, it will only produce a single seed.
The Blue Star juniper likes direct sunlight for several hours, while you should water every second day in summer and once a week in winter. You don’t need to worry about fertilizer, but it does like the soil being slightly alkaline. So don’t feel shy about adding some liquid food to make any pH adjustments.
Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the heather family and are prized for their stunning flowers. Of all the bonsai posts on Bonsai Alchemist, the Azalea is one of the most popular ones for our readers. In the United States, it’s the state flower of West Virginia and Washington. There are even Azalea festivals in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and the U.S.
When it comes to symbolism, Azaleas represent family and the home. It also stands for kindness and love. So what does this have to do with office productivity? Well, it’s a reminder that you need to have a good balance in life between work and your personal life, and that you should succeed in both. Also, having an Azalea bonsai on your desk is a reminder of what’s waiting for you at home when you’re done with your day’s work.
While Azaleas are in the Rhododendron genus, it sets itself apart from true Rhododendrons by having five anthers on each flower. There are many colors and cultivars, so you can put on quite a display in summer if you have different variations. The flowers will often overwhelm the leaves and trunks, and you may not even see the structure with the dense foliage until winter.
In summer, the bonsai tree will expect daily watering, especially in the intense heat. When winter arrives, you can reduce it to twice a week. You should fertilize every two weeks in spring to get as many flowers in summer, while it direct sunlight in the mornings with shade for the rest of the day.
Blue Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
As part of the Bignonia family, the Blue Jacaranda is an astonishing flowering bonsai that’s native to South America. However, it’s become so popular for its flowers that it’s moved to other parts of the world. Countries where you’ll often find them are South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
There are many magical meanings attached to this gorgeous tree. For one, it’s said to represent wealth, rebirth, and good luck. It also shows wisdom, which is the symbolism mostly connected to office productivity. It will help you see the way towards completing your task efficiently with maximum results.
The most outstanding feature of this Jacaranda bonsai is the blue-purple flower. However, many bonsai enthusiasts grow it for the compound leaves, which you can reduce in size via pruning. The hard seed pod has a unique shape, usually giving more than 20 winged seeds that are easy to propagate.
The tree loves deep watering, while you should let it dry out between sessions for a few days. If you have a small bonsai pot, you can let it soak in a tub of water for an hour. It also enjoys full sunlight for a few hours in the day. You’ll also have to practice heavy pruning in spring, as it grows vigorously in the right conditions.
Peach Tree (Prunus persica)
Who doesn’t like eating a peach fruit or watching the tree blossom? The Peach tree is part of the stone fruit family, or drupes as another name. Countries worldwide have different variations of this beautiful species, and many love growing them as bonsais for the flowers and small fruit. It all depends on how well you maintain the growth.
Prunus persica has so many meanings in various cultures, which is what makes it such an amazon bonsai tree. In summary, it represents youth, immortality, beauty, softness, sexuality, and love. When it comes to work, the aspect we’re aiming at is longevity. There are many projects you may come across where you have to persevere and hold strong. It also links to working at a company for many years.
The pink flowers have five petals, and you can reduce their size on your bonsai with good maintenance pruning in spring. It has beautiful, green, lanceolate leaves that increase the density of the foliage. Of course, the most outstanding feature is the fruit.
To grow the most flowers on your bonsai, the tree needs up to six hours of direct sunlight every day. You’ll need to soak the soil often in summer so that the roots can drink from the bottom of the pot. You can add mulch as fertilizer in autumn and winter to help it through the dormant period.
Oriental Cherry (Prunus serrulata)
The Oriental Cherry is a tree that’s grown in China, Japan, Russia, and Korea. As part of the same family as the peach, it’s no surprise that it’s prized as an ornamental bonsai for its flowers. There are many cultivars in different cultures where the fruit are preserved.
When it comes to symbolism, there are numerous available for the Oriental Cherry. Some of the more popular beliefs include goodness, pleasantness, and the sweet life of happiness. The meanings we’re focusing on are renewal and optimism. Both of these are essential for optimal productivity, especially if you’ve been in a slump for some time.
The highlight of Prunus serrualata is the bright pink flowers that put on a show in summer. It has a chestnut-brown bark that’s strong and resilient, while the green leaves have ovate-lanceolate shapes. While you can eat some of the cherries, the fruit in this species are usually bitter, which is why they are preserved.
While the tree can survive in drought conditions, we recommend watering often while ensuring there’s enough drainage. If you provide enough direct light in summer, you can expect tons of flowers on your bonsai. It can tolerate various levels of humidity and temperature, which makes them ideal for the office.
Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
Also known as the Babylon Willow, this tree is native to China but also found in other parts of the world. It loves growing along rivers or other sources of water, so you can consider that inspiration for your miniature landscape. However, it has a short lifespan compared to other species, living up to 75 years on average.
For the most part, the symbolism for the Weeping Willow involves resurrection, immortality, hope, and a source of nourishment for the soul. For the office, you can see it as aiding you when projects fail and you need the motivation to remain productive on your other targets. It’s a reminder that failure is there to teach us how to succeed in the future.
It’s hard not to recognize Salix babylonica by the weeping leaves in the dense foliage. It’s green in summer and spring, while it may turn golden in autumn. There are adorable catkins for flowers, which will put on a splendid show on your bonsai.
You’ll need to water regularly in summer while providing some sunlight in the morning. The one factor you need to be aware of is pest control. Borers and caterpillars love feasting on these trees, so you’ll need to keep an eye out if you leave your office window open and the container is on the sill.
Tips for Improving Productivity with Bonsais
While having these bonsais provides an excellent experience, your productivity won’t magically increase. There are some actions you’ll need to take that will take you in the right direction. Here are some tips from us that will form that positive connection with your tree.
Decide the Role the Bonsai will Play
A bonsai tree will have an effect on the office space proportionate to its role. What we mean by this statement is that you can plan to showcase it in a specific location based on the surroundings. Are you framing the space with tiles at the back, do you have hardwood floors, or are you matching it with the office colors?
All of these aspects have an impact on the mood in the space. If the bonsais aren’t evenly spaced on a shelf, it will silently annoy your colleagues until it’s corrected. Should you be using them for noise reduction, ensure you put them in key locations for them to have the maximum potential.
The Correct Placement
Besides placement for the right role, you also need to consider what the bonsai species needs. How much sun does it like, and can it thrive with the window open? Should you consider smaller bonsais for windowsills, or will your productivity pick up if you place it on your desk?
It may seem incredibly complicated, but it will help you in the long run if you plan it correctly. There may even be a communal space in the center of the office for everyone to enjoy the benefits. Also, if everyone is caring for it, it may help with avoiding distractions if the tree isn’t on your desk.
A Routine Schedule
We know how tough it can be to find the time to look after bonsais, especially when you have a full workday ahead. Still, you can only achieve proper productivity if you have a clear mind with no stress. You need to find the time to care for the trees, not only to keep them alive but for your own sake too.
It helps if you develop a routine. Since bonsais love water in the morning before the sun hits its peak, you can show your loving care as soon as you arrive in the office. Also, it helps if you use your breaks to spend some time with them before you head off to the mall or have your tea. Don’t forget to schedule pruning and fertilizing days in your calendar.
Bring Them to Meetings
When you have regular weekly and monthly team meetings or for a project, it can become dull over time discussing the same items over and over again. In other cases where you’re expected to deliver updates or results, it can be stressful. If you have a small bonsai that’s easy to carry around and can handle changing locations, bring it with you to add some life.
Not only will the other members be impressed with you, but the visual presence of the tree will enhance the mood and encourage everyone to focus on the goals. It also works as a delightful icebreaker to start the meeting. You can also use this approach with online meetings, ensuring that everyone can see the bonsai next to you. You’d be surprised how quickly it sparks a conversation.
Share the Culture with Others
While bonsais make lovely trees that appear sacred to others, you don’t need to shroud them in mystery. When you educate your colleagues and share the bonsai culture with them, it inspires them to become more productive. You can also create a communal area or make a bonsai area in the courtyard where everyone can enjoy them.
Create More Nature Spaces
This brings us to our next point. Often, it’s the corporate environment with brick walls and enclosed windows that stifle productivity and creativity. You need to keep in mind that it’s not just about you and your colleagues, but also about visitors to your building.
It’s best to find spaces you can convert to introduce bonsais, especially in vacant alcoves or the areas next to columns. They also make outstanding decorations for cafeterias and waiting rooms.
Become a Bonsai Champion
Have you ever heard of a change champion in your workplace? These individuals usually take a new concept that’s not yet in place and deliver presentations and discussions towards the potential future. It progressed the idea throughout the organization and helps other departments realize the value of your idea.
Of course, we’re not sure how far you want to take this. If you’re in a massive business or a government entity, there’s no reason you can’t discuss improving productivity in the workplace with bonsais. Who knows? Maybe they will purchase them with company funds or get the municipal parks and recreation departments involved.
It always helps to be more productive and get more done. While there are many lessons you can find online to aid you in focusing and completing your tasks, having a tiny tree by your side makes all the difference. Take some guidance from our experience and notice the difference it makes to your work life.