Posts Tagged ‘environment’

A freezing office was killing our productivity

laelene Posted in general blog, lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , ,

For months, the temperature of the office was almost a daily topic of discussion. It was always freezing for at least half of us, and a comfortable cool for the others. It got to the point where I had to wear at least two jackets in the office (which was pretty ridiculous considering it was blazing hot outside). Why waste all that energy to overcompensate for the external heat? Why does it always get SO cold in offices in the summer? It’s really counterproductive.

I would spend my days chugging hot water. The moment I stopped, I’d feel the numbing cold and have trouble focusing on anything else. It was dreadful to spend so much of my work hours uncomfortable and even in pain at times. Those of us who were cold were constantly thinking about how to stay warm, which couldn’t have been good for our productivity. I mean, I actually brought in a blanket that I put on my chair and wrapped around my legs when I worked. Many of us had little heaters at our desks as well, but after one blew a fuse, they weren’t allowed anymore.

Every couple of days, our office manager would call in the maintenance guys who would tell us everything was fine and the temperature was not abnormally low. Tell that to our icy cold hands. Finally, one day one of the sales folks joked about it being like a meat locker in the office – were we trying to keep raw meat from going bad? That sparked a discussion about how insanely cold it was and I shared an article about productivity in warmer temperatures. Some quotes from that article:

When our body’s temperature drops, we expend energy keeping ourselves warm, making less energy available for concentration, inspiration, and insight.

A forthcoming paper from researchers at UCLA even shows that brief exposure to warmer temperatures leads people to report higher job satisfaction.

When we experience warmth, we experience trust. And vice versa.

We know that cold temperatures worsen productivity. What new research is showing is that it can also corrode the quality of our relationships.

Great workplaces aren’t simply the product of good organizational policies. They emerge when employees connect with one another and form meaningful relationships that engender trust. What’s often overlooked is that connections don’t operate in a vacuum.

It seems obvious that the temperature of a restaurant or theater can alter our experience. So why do we continue to neglect it in the workplace?

It makes sense after all, since if you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the very basis of survival includes physiological needs. How could be possibly expect to be able to operate well in relationships and higher level thinking and work if we couldn’t even satisfy the innate need for body function? Obviously our resources would be redirected towards trying to alleviate that unmet need, not leaving much room for the work we were supposed to be doing.

After this rather lengthy discussion, complete with pictures of how people were piling on the layers to combat the cold, we finally got the thermostat changed. Suddenly, I could wear only one jacket, and a light one at that! Sometimes after drinking my mug of hot water I could even take off the jacket momentarily. It was amazing and immediately lifted the mood of all those who had been freezing before. Now temperature is hardly a consideration at work. Sometimes the office still feels cold, but not nearly as bad. Hopefully it will continue to stay at a steady 74 degrees or higher. Those who didn’t mind the cold before certainly don’t seem to be too hot in this new temperature.

I’m much happier and can actually focus on work without having to consider how to stay warm throughout the day. It’s pretty incredible that something pretty simple took so long to fix (and that it feels oh so rewarding). I no longer yearn to work from home just so I could feel my fingers when I type. Isn’t that glorious?

365great Day 336: ambiance

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , ,

365great day 336: ambianceI’ve been burning a lot of candles lately, really soaking in the mood it creates. It’s nice to have a flickering flame with that warm light to create a comforting glow. And depending on what sort of environment I’m looking for there are vastly different elements I can incorporate to achieve just the right feeling. I loved the fresh plants and lighting at this restaurant, which made everything I ate there feel more healthy and light. From the furniture to the lighting, a space is defined by how it makes you feel. That’s probably why I find it difficult to work as productively at home than at work and why I relax instantly as I step into a bath. It’s amazing how much we are affected by the cues from our surroundings and it’s really cool that we can change so much based on what’s around us. Setting the right ambiance can have great effects.

365great Day 158: reusable bags

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 158: reusable bagsI’m a fan of bringing my own reusable bag with me whenever I can, especially to Target for that 5 cent off bag discount. I’ve definitely saved on a TON of plastic bags since I started toting them around and I get to use whatever fits my mood (and needs)! Sometimes I use super cute small ones that are perfect for bringing my wallet, sunglasses, and phone in. Sometimes when I know I’ll have a lot I want to bring back to the car, I get a giant bag complete with reinforced bottom. I’ve got red ones and blue ones and orange ones and green ones… some say Target, some say Kaiser, some say Bliss, and some say Green Festival! I love switching it up between them and have pretty much stopped using purses since all I need is one of these bags. It’s amazing all the brands that are giving them out these days, so I don’t even have to buy them! Save money and the environment? Pretty great!

Intense weather

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , ,

What’s been going on lately? Between scorching heat waves and really heavy storms, we’ve experienced some really extreme weather patterns.

pouring rain from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

The rain was coming down so hard that we pulled over to wait it out.

crazy storm from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Curated craze

laelene Posted in general blog, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , ,

I subscribe to a random smattering of newsletters and daily deal sites, one of which is blissmo.  Earlier in the week, I got an email with a special offer that piqued my interest – sign up for a blissmobox membership and get a special edition box free!  I’ve been aware of these subscription-based programs that offer a box of curated goods each month, but I had never gotten into them.  However, after looking into blissmoboxes, I felt that for $19/box (or just $17.54 if you count the bonus one too) it was worth a shot.  After all, I’m a sucker for trying new products and what better way than to let the people of blissmo pick out some eco-friendly ones for me?

This experience got me thinking about this whole “curated” trend that’s been going around.  From daily deals that are curated by experts to monthly themed boxes curated by the team at a company, options are popping up everywhere.  You can go for environmentally-friendly products like I did, or choose from food only, beauty products, fashion, and countless other angles.  I won’t talk about daily deals today, since this whole monthly box thing is my newest interest.  I love the idea because you get introduced to a bunch of cool new products without having to scour the aisles yourself.  Plus, who doesn’t enjoy receiving a package?

While looking into what the latest blissmobox contained, I discovered a blogger who reviewed a bunch of these services.  I’m pretty baffled by how many she subscribes to, but if you cut out shopping in stores and buying snacks yourself, I can see how it wouldn’t cost too much more to exclusively use these subscriptions.  There’s definitely a strong appeal to getting on this trend, whether it’s purely because you like to receive packages or you’re actually looking to sample a variety of products to help you choose what to use in your daily life.  In fact, I almost convinced myself that it wouldn’t be so bad if I subscribed to just one more…

I remember when I got a mystery gift bag from Burt’s Bees; it was really exciting to open it up and discover what they had put in there for me.  Similarly, one of the perks of being involved with Opportunity Green is the chance to score some pretty awesome swag.  It’s just so satisfying to get a bag of stuff!  Emotionally, it can be very satisfying to sign up for one these curated boxes.  On the other hand, to a certain extent it can make sense practically as well, since you often see products that you aren’t sure about and wish you could try.  This way, you get a bunch that have been test driven by people at the company providing the boxes, so generally you can expect a pretty good product. You can then test them out yourself to figure out if it’s something you’d continue to use.  There’s also the fun factor of not knowing what you’ll get.  Most people enjoy a little bit of mystery and surprise to spice things up!

I personally can’t wait to get my first blissmobox and start experiencing this craze.  I’ll be sure to post up what I get in each box as they come!

Eco maverick

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

michelle rodriguez djing at opportunity green 2010

Michelle Rodriguez - actress, DJ, and Eco Maverick! She DJed at Opportunity Green 2010's afterparty.

Blog Action Day 2010

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

It’s Blog Action Day again!  Last year I wrote about climate change and this year the theme is WATER.  I don’t know that much about water, but I do know it’s a huge problem in third world countries.  Access to clean water is taken for granted in developed countries, but for much of the world, life isn’t so easy.  In fact, I believe one of the biggest killers in those countries are contaminants in the water that get people sick.   How terrible is that?   So take some time to read more at the BAD site and let’s work to give the world clean drinking water.|Start Petition

Ratio of bins

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,

two recycle bins, one compost, and one trash

I love that there are two recycle bins, but I think the ratio should be more like 2 compost, 1 recycle, and a half-size one for trash.


laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , ,

Funny, I was just thinking about how I always seem to be the exception and never quite fit into a category. One such case is in eating habits – I’m not a “true” vegetarian, but practically am most of the time. Then I come across this video, talking about breaking down the idea that you either have to be a vegetarian/vegan or a crazy carnivore. I consider myself neither, really. In fact, I like to say I’m a pseudo-vegetarian. I don’t eat meat much but I do have some periodically. And so now, a new breed of vegetarians can emerge, treating their eating habits sort of like a job… meanwhile, I think I’ll stick to my own brand of “vegetarianism.”

“If it was my home”

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

One of my fraternity brothers shared this link today, which I thought was a compelling image.  It takes you to a map displaying the approximate area of the spill, then allows you to overlay that to whatever area you want, just to see how much it would cover if it was in your city!  Here’s a look at LA (click to see a larger image):

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