When I first read Andrew Simms’ column from yesterday’s Guardian, I didn’t know that “garden leave” was a slang term for the Brits. As such, I missed a bit of irony present in the piece, no doubt. What I didn’t miss was a new idea for employers to organize their organization’s work week, and to do some good in the community.
We’ve certainly seen the impact of the four-day work week: not only does it have demonstrated environmental benefits, but also increases worker productivity. Simms’ idea builds upon the benefits of the shorter work week by making it contingent on workers getting out and gardening: either at home, in community gardens, or perhaps even a company-sponsored space. He notes that such a plan would create further benefits for the communities in which its practiced, including:
- The health and wellness benefits to the gardeners themselves – gardening contributes to physical and mental well-being;
- The creation of opportunities for community-building;
- The additional food security; and
- The impact on urban heat islands.
Of course, the employer who implements such a plan gets benefits out of it, too: more motivated employees, lower costs for things like utilities, and perhaps even some fresh food for workplace gatherings. So, there’s no need to mandate this: put the idea out there, and smart, forward-thinking business owners will get it.
Know of companies or organizations that have implemented such a system for their employees? Tell us about it.