ARE FLOWERS AND PLANTS A WASTE OF MONEY?

ARE FLOWERS AND PLANTS A WASTE OF MONEY?
Are flowers and plants a waste of money?
ArticleReader Comments By Rhys Timson
Sep 10, 2010
Flowers in offices are not a waste of money
Another month, another politician citing spending on cut flowers and plants as an example of waste.

This time, it’s communities secretary Eric Pickles, and his target is the Audit Commission, a government body set up to monitor local government spending. Mr Pickles thinks that the organisation’s bill of £40,000 a year for pot plants for its offices makes it a “creature of the Whitehall state” and an example of spendthrift government departments and QUANGOs.

The head of the Audit Commission, Michael O’Higgins, explained that the £40,000 breaks down to £20 a week over the organisation’s 37 offices. This doesn’t actually sound like a lot of money to me, especially when you consider the effect greenery around the office can have on employees. But Mr Pickles, and many of the newspapers, haven’t let the facts get in the way of a good story or, indeed, their political agendas.

If Mr Pickles cared to investigate the subject, he’d find that, time and time again, research has shown that flowers and plants in offices have a positive effect on employees that’s well worth the money spent on them.

Forexample, workplace absenteeism costs the UK £16.8bn a year and research by Plants for People has shown plants in offices can cut that absenteeism by a quarter.

Further, research by growers’ union Air So Pure has confirmed that plants purify the air, reducing the levels of toxins which can cause sickness and ill-health in offices.

So, if the government really wants to save money, it would be well advised not to make a scapegoat of spending on pot plants or cut flowers. They are not a luxury. They are not a waste. They are vital component of any productive, healthy office. They clean the air, they brighten the place up and they improve the mood of employees.

In all, cut flowers and pot plants in offices will save the government money over the long term. But the long term never looks so good in the headlines does it?

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