Giving back to the community can reap multiple benefits for employers, not the least of which is warm feelings from employees. In a recent Boston Globe article, Sara Salinas writes that research shows employees value companies that give back to the community. One increasingly popular way to do so—community gardens—also helps employees’ own well-being.
Salinas reports that more and more companies are encouraging their employees to take time during the day, incorporating game rooms, quiet spaces, fitness centers, and now gardens. Typically, she says, community garden groups provide the knowledge, infrastructure, and oversight, while companies provide enthusiastic workers. The produce from the gardens is often donated to local food banks, sent home with workers, or prepared and served in corporate cafeterias.
Barbara Kreski, director of Horticultural Therapy Services at the Chicago Botanic Garden, tells Salinas that gardens contribute to wellness by reducing stress. Kreski says green spaces and gardens have been found to cut cortisol and heart rates. They also provide “a sort of mental break and the ability to restore your energy for difficult cognitive tasks.”