These days it’s common for offices to have all kinds of modern amenities, from fully stocked kitchens to free coffee bars, ping pong tables to sleeping pods, high tech conference rooms to massage chairs. For employers seeking to provide unique and engaging office spaces for their employees, the competition is intense.
In a world of hybrid working, offices must work harder than ever to deliver real connection and collaboration, while standing as a symbol of company values. Indeed, in today’s new working pattern, the office now plays a far deeper role in creating a shared sense of purpose and belonging.
So it’s no wonder that as major employers consider their office needs, many are opting for smaller, but better appointed, workspaces. For example, HSBC recently announced that they’re moving from a 45-floor tower in Canary Wharf to offices in the City of London.
As employers invest in the future of their offices, we think office farms, given their many benefits for employers and employees alike, will become an essential amenity.
What is an office farm?
Simply put, an office farm is an indoor installation that grows fresh healthy produce for employees, inside an office. It uses soilless growing techniques known as hydroponics and highly advanced, energy-efficient LED lighting technology. There’s no soil erosion, no pesticides and no transport. Water and energy use are really efficient too.
The leafy green veg and herbs harvested from these farms are shared with employees to take home and/or eat in the canteen.
Why farms in an office?
1. More productivity
A recent report by Exeter University showed that people working in offices with natural greenery saw a 15% rise in productivity over a three-month period, compared to people working without any natural elements around them.
2. Truly engaging experiences
Office farms are genuinely interactive, allowing for direct engagement and interaction between employees. People can actively participate in how the farm is run – like voting on the next plants to grow. And they can harvest produce directly from the plants to take home and eat. Also, teams can work on their farms together, which is a brilliant way of building team spirit, while opening up conversations about nutrition and food production.
3. Inspiration for positive change
Office farms create awareness about the unsustainability of current food production and the need to shift to more local and less wasteful methods. All while making wellbeing and sustainability – two critical priorities for workplaces of the future – much more personal. This empowers people to make positive changes in their own daily habits and routines.
4. Meaningful for employees
Today, many employees (especially millenials and younger generations) prefer experiences over material things. They also expect employers to support their efforts to be healthier and more sustainable. According to a report by IBM, 69% of the full potential workforce say they’re more likely to accept a job with an organization they consider to be environmentally sustainable. Having a farm in your office is one of very few company perks that delivers meaningful experiences while promoting sustainability at the same time.
5. Retaining talent
As well as purifying the air and providing a striking backdrop to open spaces, office farms are a compelling way to put corporate commitment to sustainability and wellbeing into practice. For the workforce of the future, this matters. And in the long-term, these kind of initiatives will help employers attract and retain the brightest talent.
A world with farms across the cityscape
So where does this all lead? Well, we see a world where farms become integral to the modern urban environment, and it becomes perfectly normal to find them in all kinds of places that bring people together. Not just offices and residential buildings – but schools, hospitals and libraries too.
In the future, we believe our cities will be much more connected, healthier and sustainable. All thanks to farming: a process that’s as old as civilization itself.
Square Mile Farms bring vertical, urban farming to city dwellers. We aim to bring people closer to food production and help to create a culture of healthy, sustainable living. Find out more about our offering and get in touch here with any queries. You can also follow us on social media to stay up to date with our journey, find us on Instagram and LinkedIn.