Flower Power!


Obolife, the purpose-led furniture provider, is launching its #oboflowerpower competition at this year’s Mad World Summit to win a monthly delivery from Freddie’s Flowers www.freddiesflowers.com to your place of work (this could be your home of course) for an entire year.

All you need to do is post a picture/image/message via Instagram, Facebook or  Twitter or send an email or an actual real postcard (you’ll find these in the goodie bags at the summit), of a flower that has some special meaning to you or that you just love.

Please tag every entry with #oboflowerpower.

Flower Power!

When Patrick O’Keefe, the Boston adman came up with the slogan “Say it with Flowers” back in 1917, he was definitely on to something! O’Keefe was with Henry Penn, a former president of the Society of American Florists in a bar when the two had their eureka moment.

“There is nothing that you can’t say with flowers – when you send flowers, it says everything,” Penn supposedly remarked. To which O’Keefe exclaimed, “That’s it.”

During Victorian times the art of ‘Floriography’ – the language of flowers – was very popular. A way of sending covert messages to desired partners, perhaps sending particular flowers with a hidden meaning. And still, there are very few people (possibly the poor hay fever sufferers!) who would not be delighted to receive a box, bouquet or bunch of flowers. 

So, what is it about flowers that makes us feel so good?

It seems that the mere presence of flowers has a positive impact, heightening our feelings of wellbeing. A behavioural research study conducted at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, suggests that sending flowers is in fact one of the simplest ways to improve emotional health. The study also found:

·    Flowers are a moderator of moods and can change a person’s mood instantaneously.

·    Flowers make people feel happy. All of the participants in the study showed “true” or “excited” smiles when they received flowers, showing extreme happiness and gratitude.

·    Flowers make you feel happier for longer. The participants in the study reported that they feel less depressed after receiving flowers.

·    Flowers create intimacy.

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It seems that flowers trigger certain chemical reactions in our body, according to Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., a professor of emerita management at California States University East Bay, and author of Habits of a Happy Brain, flowers boost levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, hormones that complement each other in terms of feeling rewarded, secure and emotionally connected.

We don’t stop being human-beings when we go to work and with 90% of a building’s running costs relate to the people inside it, it makes complete sense for employers to invest in some ‘Biophilia’- humanity’s innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment.

Some organisations have taken this connection with nature one step further, through the creation of company gardens, where employees can be involved with growing their own fruit and vegetables. Intuit Inc. and PayPal are two such companies, using StartOrganic in their workplaces. Founded by Josh Levine and Troy Smothermon in 2011, StartOrganic is a California-based company that brings organic gardening education to employers, schools and private residences.

The benefits of these kind of programmes extend beyond the individual sense of wellbeing and cultivate a connection with work colleagues and their physical surroundings. Of course, in larger locations like Intuit’s Silicon Valley campus and PayPal’s campus in San Jose, then employees have the potential to harvest quite a bounty but even for smaller organisations and those in high-rise offices, window boxes and troughs are also an option.

It almost seems too simple that such a straightforward solution can have a significant impact, but as day-to-day life moves as such a fast pace that another cliché springs to mind “Take time to stop and smell the roses.”


Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., a professor emerita of management at California State University East Bay, is the author of Habits of a Happy Brain.

About the Author
Gary Helm – As the founder of obo (www.obolife.com) Gary Helm’s focus is on the physical and emotional wellbeing of people in the workplace. Through collaboration and co-creation with a coalition of experts across the supply chain I am able to deliver solutions that shape the changing workplace. Workplaces that allow talent to flourish and for company cultures to be reflected. Places that provide commercially sustainable, long-term people focused solutions.

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