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Planting the Seed for a Softchoice Green Wall

Culture | Posted on January 16, 2014 by Daneal O'Habib

They’re known by many different names, among them eco-walls, living walls, and vertical gardens. No matter what you call them, green walls are literally a growing trend in office environments.

Green walls are pretty much what they sound like – vegetation growing from a medium that can be arranged decoratively on a wall, completely cover a wall, or even work as a standalone structure. The overall design and type of vegetation you use is scalable and infinitely customizable.

Always looking for new ways to introduce more plant life to our office environment, Softchoice Green Team member, Justin Mulrain, proposed a pilot green wall project for the Toronto office.

The Softchoice CSR Blog checked in with him recently to find out what he’s learned from the project so far.

What are some of the benefits of having a green wall the office?

Done right, green walls on a large scale are real works of art, and even on a smaller scale can be a beautiful addition to any office or public space. The benefits to the workplace, however, go far beyond the aesthetic value.

There have been many peer reviewed studies documenting the benefits of plant life in the workplace, including improved air quality, reduced stress, and enhanced employee attitudes, productivity, and creativity.

A key focus for Softchoice Green Team is to improve the health and wellness of its employees and having more greenery, in any form, would certainly help achieve this goal.

What are the biggest challenges for getting a green wall project started?

The biggest challenge is finding the right types of plants and the right location in the office environment to ensure the plants can thrive all year round though varying sunlight.

Another challenge, unless you hire a professional horticulturist, is organizing volunteers to tend to the plants on a regular basis. If your green wall is an employee-led initiative like ours, it will have to be a team effort. People go on vacation, people get caught up with urgent work. The larger you scale it up, the more amateur horticulturalists you will need to tend to it.

What is the next step for implementing this project on a larger scale at Softchoice?

The purpose of this pilot project is to test which plants can thrive in our office environment with very limited direct sunlight. Once we are satisfied, we can pursue budgeting for and implementing the project on a larger scale. We hope to start putting more plants up around the office and potentially a full green wall in reception.

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