Thursday, November 21, 2013

“Imagine if Every Office Had an Ecosystem”
Wellness Professional Shares Her Thoughts on the Benefits of Ecosystems

Image: Ecosystem with Monkey Orchid

Genesis Eco Fund’s mandate to educate the public on the benefits of ecosystems is both rewarding and at times quite easy. It’s really quite amazing to witness people’s response to the ecosystem and watch as they “get it”—that is, they begin to feel the positive effects the ecosystem is having on them.

Today a friend, Lana, stopped by to see the ecosystem currently on display at 401 Richmond Street (it will be moving to 401 Bay Street and available for viewing from December 1st).

Lana works at Source Centre, “Downtown Toronto's Holistic Health and Wellness Centre” - Among various administrative duties, Lana is also an accomplished Reiki practitioner.

Upon seeing the ecosystem in person for the first time today, Lana’s initial reaction was to note how small it was. Typically, when you tell people about rainforest ecosystems, their minds conjure up images of South American jungles.

It only took a moment to point out, “the ecosystem you’re looking at is one of our smaller units; they can be scaled up to any size.”

Next she was struck by the variety of plants and how noticeably different they were from what you’d typically find in an office environment. Some of the unique roots structures and colourful flowers aside, the carnivorous flowering plants, orchids and moss clearly were clear indications of something special.

Not only was the variety of plants different, they seemed much lusher, showing greater vitality than any potted plant. Here we got into a discussion around the energy of ecosystems.

“Yeah, I can really feel how it changes the energy of the space,” Lana said. A few moments later, she added: “can you imagine if every office had an ecosystem?”

Yes, we certainly can. And with that, we discussed briefly the benefits to companies, organizations, governments, schools and society as a whole were people to be able to experience such beautiful, fresh air and soothing, relaxing vibes throughout the day.

How might working in a healing space change our perspective on the work we do, the people we work with, and the challenges we face? What sorts of new inspiration might we experience?

Genesis Eco Fund intends to explore these questions and more; documenting results and sharing the stories of all those who, like Lana, experience the benefits of ecosystems—even if only for a moment.

And, for those who really need to experience the benefits ecosystems can provide but cannot afford one, Genesis Eco Fund is determined to help them through fundraising efforts so they too can enjoy the benefits that only nature in her highest expression can provide.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Is Your Workplace Hurting You, Your People and Your Profits?
Expand Your Understanding of "Hostile Work Environment"

Image: Hostile Work Environment by Desolee
“A hostile work environment is created by a boss or coworker whose actions, communication, or behavior make doing your job impossible. This means that the behavior altered the terms, conditions, and/or reasonable expectations of a comfortable work environment for employees. Additionally, the behavior, actions or communication must be discriminatory in nature.”
~ Susan M. Heathfield
Source: Human Resources: What Makes a Work Environment Hostile? Legal Guidelines Exist to Define a Hostile Workplace
Let’s be clear from the get-go: we are in no way shape or form belittling the gravity of the circumstances currently falling under the legal definition of hostile workplace environment. Far from it. Workplace hostility in all its forms is unfortunate, in many cases deplorable and in some cases may be avoidable.

A bold statement, we know; but please bear with us, we do have a rational case to make.

It should be pointed out that there has never been any causality established in hostile work environments. Like so many facets of human behavior it has been chalked up as “human nature” which has crossed the lines of acceptable moral codes of conduct in the workplace.

If there was such a thing as spectrum of hostility, it is reasonable to suggest people tend toward “more hostile behaviours” toward their subordinates when they are under greater stress, greater duress. It’s a kind of natural transference of negatively charged energy.

We’ve all experienced some form of being “dumped on” by another person. We are social creatures and sometimes we need to “let off some steam.” Mainstream media and the Internet is filled with so-called “rants” of people expressing a seemingly endless stream of negative—sometimes violent—emotions.

What are violent films, TV shows, sports and video games if not “socially acceptable outlets” of violent tendencies? Ways of “burning off” negative energy? Surely a boss, manager, supervisor, etc. may subconsciously perceive subordinates in the same category, where power over a subject/object signals a potential outlet for negative emotions (which, we can easily recognize as hostility).

Haven't we all let off steam at the expense of a partner, spouse, family member, friend, store clerk, waiter, or even complete stranger? 

Where does all this negative energy come from? We know from the laws of physics that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed but endlessly transformed. Is it outrageous to suggest that the negative energy we accumulate within our psyche has its source, at least in part, in our environment?

Certainly someone who feels they are the victim of a hostile work environment will agree with this.

The hostile work environment can be a tremendous source of stress. Individuals in such circumstances may indeed find themselves going home and taking out their work frustrations on their children, spouse, pets, comfort food, sports…use your imagination and/or personal experience. We’ve all been there.

So why not the perpetrators of workplace hostility? Even CEO’s have superiors (i.e. Board of Directors, Government Regulators, in some cases the Media). They may not experience the same concentrated hostility as someone on the receiving end of their venting, but they are exposed to a great deal of constant pressure associated with their responsibilities; pressure which becomes STRESS.

Image: Possible Causes of Hostile Workplace Environments by GenesisEcoFund

The purpose of the above diagram is not to suggest the perpetrators of workplace hostility are not responsible for their actions. We're simply pointing out both the perpetrator and the victim are part of the same negatively charged environment and that what the victim experiences as a hostile work environment is a different experience of the same negatively charged environment: accumulated, focused and directed at them.

The ultimate negative impacts of such cumulative, focused and directed negative energy on a person are numerous, and include all manner of psychological and physical illness. This is both well documented and intuitive.

We should not discount the feedback mechanism and how such hostility compounds the negative environmental pressures of the workspace (at least in part “the source” of the problem).

So let us imagine the same dynamic with an indoor rainforest ecosystem:

Image: Ecosystem Causes of Productive Workplace Environments by GenesisEcoFund

A harmonious and productive environment is only the beginning. If nature has shown us anything,  it’s that the matrix of life, Ecosystems, holds within it the potential for infinite creativity, adaptability, beauty, ingenuity and resilience. Imagine the potential inspiration and problem solving should even a fraction of these qualities of ecosystems be transferred to the people working in the self-organized, positively charged microclimate.

This is simply intuitive. We look forward to conducting real-world research as part of our mandate to explore all the benefits of establishing symbiosis within workplace environments via ecosystems.