I love plants of all types, including plants commonly referred to as house plants. I spent one summer working in a wholesale nursery in The Redlands, south of Miami, where I learned a lot about taking care of plants. I have plants in my company’s office and I am the primary caretaker of the plants. In my opinion, plants provide a warm ambiance to an otherwise stale office environment and they provide a visual balance for the right angles of the office furniture and decor. As with many things in life, there are some people who excel in caring for plants (known as people with a green thumb) and other people who don’t know about plants and who appear not to be able to learn. My spouse/partner have employed many of the latter type over the years and it has been my job to train these employees on how to care for the plants during my frequent absences from the office. I care about the plants more than I care about most people (even though I am a social psychologist!) and I instruct all new employees that there will be dire consequences if they kill one of my prized plants. I painstakingly show the employees how each plant requires different amounts of water, with some needing lots of water and others preferring a drier existence. Every Monday when I am in the office and not traveling, I water the plants before I do any other work. On Mondays when I am not in the office, I ensure the plants are watered by whoever is there. The plants are important to my overall well being; that’s just the way I am. Losing a plant is like losing a friend, in my view, such that everyone who works for my company has to accept this reality as they help care for the plants. This is another example of the need, particularly in a small office environment, for employees to make a concerted effort to find out the boss’ likes and dislikes, then govern themselves accordingly!
New employees have to meet the plants quickly. And, even I have had to come to understand Melissa’s love of them. She remembers when she got them, where she got them and how, in some cases, she had to nurture them to health. But I do appreciate the benefits they provide in ambiance and, though not measurable, in air quality; it’s nice to have some “living creatures” around. It has also been interesting to build a business, to arrange and accessorize an office including plants. We have sometimes had to stop everything else to move a plant or fix a problem with one. And, those experiences sometimes feel, to me, non productive. But, these things are reminders that everything in the office domain is a part of work and taking care of the plants, or straightening the artwork on the walls, are all included in the “big picture” of small business ownership.