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About Us: Plants in the Workplace

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It’s Monday morning and the rush-hour crowds have you coping with the pangs of claustrophobia before you’ve even stepped into the elevator. Back to the grind, your laptop case weighs heavy on your shoulders — until you open the door to the Etsy office. A verdant tunnel greets you, transporting you to the serenity and focus of a forested vista. You suddenly feel refreshed, primed to sit down at your desk and tackle the day’s work.

Many a study has shown the benefits of plants in the workplace, whether based on productivity, air quality, or stress. And while Etsy certainly isn’t the first office to encourage office greenery, Hanna and Josh from our Facilities Team have manifested their lush vision with particular behavioral and ecological goals in mind.

Hanna’s design for incorporating a living wall and partslaborworkshop’s furniture for the Etsy greenhouse lounge.

As Josh and Hanna have developed Etsy’s aesthetic and functional expansion within Brooklyn HQ, they have considered the challenge an opportunity to express our values as a company. Josh reflects: “Construction is inherently wasteful. We wanted to show that there is an alternative way to grow as a business, that doesn’t involve ordering everything from the Herman Miller catalog or from Staples. We’re trying to explore what it means to be a business that transacts on a large scale with independent entrepreneurs and makers.” So when it came time to address the near-universal desire for office flora, they naturally turned to small business innovator Miguel Nelson, whom they first heard speak at the Hello Etsy conference last year.

Miguel developed his product, Woolly Pockets, with his brother Rodney, to address the growing need for DIY vertical gardening. Made from recycled plastic bottles and felt, Woolly Pockets enable dreams of living walls to become a reality. When Hanna first came to Etsy, she quickly observed a smattering of struggling, tiny potted plants from desk to desk. As Hanna admits, “The only thing sadder than not having plants is having lots of dying plants.”

And so Josh and Hanna invited Miguel to the office and enlisted the help of Admin from across the company to cultivate these green installations. Josh and Hanna have found the living walls offer a true breath of fresh air in what can often be a frenzied environment. “When you put a ton of earth on the wall, it calms the room,” Josh says. Acoustically, climatically, and socially — the walls continue to provide.

Etsy Admin Jakob, Tim, and Jessie are pretty pumped about helping to green the space.

“How can a workplace serve someone’s overall vision for their life?” Josh ponders. In every decision that the Facilities Team makes, they consider not just the best choice for Etsy HQ, but also the model they’re setting for each employee. Businesses, as the largest consumers in our economy, have the potential to act as hubs of information, lessening their own ecological footprint, and by doing so, create a ripple-effect change. After witnessing first-hand the accessibility of composting within the office, I have since taken up the cause at my apartment. With regular bicycle tune-up sessions during the workday, my colleagues have embraced alternative commuting as the norm. Just as we bring personal values to our work life every day, so too must we develop work values that we are eager to bring back home.

How do you make your work environment greener?

  • vsc83

    Victoria from VictoriaCampDesigns says:

    How cool! Adding living plant life to your working environment is never a bad idea. I remember the Woolly Pockets guy as a guest speaker at the Hello, Etsy! event in San Francisco last year!

    1 year ago

  • DCHStudio

    Denise from RufflesbytheMoon says:

    My dining room window looks like a jungle and it's so beautiful

    1 year ago

  • SnappingDragon

    Awun from SnappingDragon says:

    Indoor plants have many benefits including cleaning the air. I have plants in every room of my house that has windows. Living somewhere with cold winters it is wonderful to be able to be around lots of greenery even when it's freezing outside.

    1 year ago

  • LaECLECTICa

    LaECLECTICa from Laeclectica says:

    I love plants and believe they are very important for maintaining balance in my life.

    1 year ago

  • leanerneaner

    Lina from SeaOfLoveStudios says:

    Love it! Wish I could keep so many plants alive! ;)

    1 year ago

  • florasvintagecloset

    Madi from 15MadisonStreet says:

    I love it! I also have plants in almost every room of my house.

    1 year ago

  • jamiespinello

    jamiespinello from JamieSpinello says:

    I have about 40 plants in my studio...makes up for the amount of time I stay trapped in here....

    1 year ago

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading from newhopebeading says:

    I got to see these in person when I was in the Etsy offices this summer.... they are even more cool in person... I so want them in my house!

    1 year ago

  • BlackForestCottage

    Donna and Darrell Knish from BlackForestCottage says:

    I want your jobs, looks like you get to sit around and have fun all day. I'm stuck in a paint booth with a mask on most of the time. I'm afraid my plants would die from the fumes lol. So..... who's quitting to make room for me?

    1 year ago

  • doodlebirdie

    Patricia from DoodleBirdie says:

    Nice! It's good to see green :)

    1 year ago

  • lisakides

    Lisa Kides from NJVintage4U says:

    Always good to see green! I always had a plant at my desk when I worked in the corporate world. Got one now that I work at home ha ha

    1 year ago

  • crochetgal

    crochetgal from crochetgal says:

    As much as I love plants, I keep them out doors because of the huge problems with allergies in the household. That way they can still be enjoyed but not cause any health issues.

    1 year ago

  • AnyOldTime

    AnyOldTime from AnyOldTime says:

    I love plants in vintage planters. Lots of them for sale from fabulous Etsy vintage shops!

    1 year ago

  • riskybeads

    Lori from riskybeads says:

    love this! makes me smile!

    1 year ago

  • Untwistedsister

    Terri from Untwistedsister says:

    This is beautiful and a nice way to stay in touch with nature in the middle of a city. I feel so blessed to be able to work and look out my window at a tropical paradise.

    1 year ago

  • carolemma

    carol emma from carolemma says:

    I just added a few more plants to my studio this week. With winter coming on, it's even more welcoming to have lots of greenery in my work space.

    1 year ago

  • VeronicaRStudio

    Veronica from VeronicaRussekJoyas says:

    Wow... This is really cool! I would love to work in a space like Etsy's!!! I have to admit I do need more greenery in my home/workspace!

    1 year ago

  • modflo

    modflo from modflo says:

    gorgeous! there was a study of hospital patients who, when flowers/plants were in the room, did better in several ways, even if the flowers were delivered anonymously. plant life has such a great effect on us...just wish i weren't a serial plant killer, even succulents. *shame*

    1 year ago

  • OhFaro

    Faro from OhFaro says:

    Looks awesome. We have a little green house and rotate plants from inside to there and back again. It's a great way to keep our plants happy.

    1 year ago

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis says:

    I love this!! Plants add so much to the value of life!! Way to go, Etsy! :)

    1 year ago

  • krize

    Kristina Sabaite from krize says:

    Plants are so important and so cute beings! :)

    1 year ago

  • gardenjewels

    Julie DeGroot from JewelsInTheGarden says:

    This is Simply Wonderful! Bringing the outdoors in ~ LOVE it! Thanks for sharing Michelle!

    1 year ago

  • southcentric

    Jeannie from southcentric says:

    More 0xygen can only help!

    1 year ago

  • SuzisPillowStudio

    Suzi from ThePillowStudioShop says:

    I love this! My studio has amazing sunlight- I try to keep all electricity off (until I need to use my sewing machine, of course).

    1 year ago

  • littleshopkeeper

    Leanna K from littlestorekeeper says:

    I wish I had more sunlight in my aparment for a wall of plants. Maybe a small box of air plants would do. Looks like a great place to work!

    1 year ago

  • jenniferjarman

    Jennifer Jarman from palomitaragdolls says:

    Awesome!! I want to do this in my bedroom. LOVE it! Thanks for sharing:)

    1 year ago

  • TheHickoryTree

    Linda from TheHickoryTree says:

    I love plants. My office at work is full of plants. After 15 years of living in a cube at work, when I finally got my own office with huge windows, I filled it up with plants. It seems to attract my co-workers to the space too. (that and the candy jar) Sometimes when I'm busy I'll push the big floor one in front of my computer so passerbys leave me alone so I can get some work done. Plants make a work space feel very green and welcoming.

    1 year ago

  • CelesteCraft

    Celeste from CelesteCraft says:

    What a wonderful idea! Too much concrete feels barren to me, so cities make this country girl feel clausterphobic. This seems liek a great way to bring life into unlikely places!

    1 year ago

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly says:

    How fabulous! I have seen some vertical gardens that were just inspiring! I love plants (and have them in most rooms) but have not brought any into my studio because I didn't want it to tip over and get the fabric or materials I'm working on dirty or wet. I think I may get some air plants though as I've done well with them in other parts of my home. I love the hanging bulbs I've seen on Etsy and have had my eye on some for ages. Now I'm ever more inspired to take the plunge! Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • RenataandJonathan
  • TwistedDesigns

    Lindsay May from TwistedDesigns says:

    Every office I have ever worked in could have used that. With all of the computers you need to make up for all the negative ions in the air.

    1 year ago

  • lamagagio

    Quor è iacobelli from Quor says:

    Fantastic idea! I will try to do that in my Etsy lab as soon as possible :)

    1 year ago

  • VillaCollezione

    Villa Collezione from VillaCollezione says:

    fab work place!

    1 year ago

  • roseandpin

    Ruth Cook from RoseandPin says:

    This used to be my job, As part of my job working in a florist we used to go around a lot of local offices and put plants in to work spaces, We always had to be as quiet as possible and not make to much mess,It was not easy when to were replanting a 6ft Yucca plant but it also got us out of the shop and into some interesting work spaces, Plants are great for helping you to stay alert and awake during your working day.

    1 year ago

  • ERiaDesigns

    ERiaDesigns from ERiaDesigns says:

    Way to go, Etsy. When I worked in the "corporate" world, I hated the sterility of the walls, floor, ceiling and whole environment. I always said if I had my own business, I'd have windows, plants, and LIFE! This is terrific not only for the employees but for the Earth and future of workplace environments. Pass on your message to other businesses. You're right...not everything needs to come in a UPS box to create a good workplace:)

    1 year ago

  • byKEONA

    Keona from byKEONA says:

    I love plants! I even only prefer live flowers( especially orchids) if my Mister wants to give me flowers. My studio have a mini garden by the window and I couldn't tell you how they have helped relax me. Great job Etsy for providing this for team members! I would love to see it one day in person.

    1 year ago

  • madebythecoopers

    madebythecoopers from madebythecoopers says:

    How amazing! There was a great wall made up of greenery in the 2012 Olympic park. It's inspiring as they can be created even if there isn't loads of space.

    1 year ago

  • elianne07

    Elizabeth French from Unpurled says:

    I have an orchid in my home office. It probably will not live very much longer (I was not blessed with my mother's green thumb), but I will say that looking at it every once in a while does boost my mood. Good for you Etsy!

    1 year ago

  • hrblexpressions

    Marsha Spangenberg from hrblexpressions says:

    Wow! That's awesome! I have plants in almost every room also and I love it. Looks like you guys have a great working environment.

    1 year ago

  • capraistic

    darcy from capraistic says:

    I love the idea! Way to think outside the box, Etsy!

    1 year ago

  • JennasRedRhino

    Jennifer Schmidt from TheCatBall says:

    Plants are pretty and create a relaxing environment. They also provide a new source of entertainment for office dogs and cats!

    1 year ago

  • lewintory

    tory lewin says:

    My work uses steam to heat the brewery, saving on energy. My school has a four-storey plant wall too

    1 year ago

  • BourgeoisDesigns

    V Lynn from BourgeoisDesigns says:

    Plants make the environment more warm and inviting.

    1 year ago